Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Week of Kindness and Learning

This past week was a mix of challenges and opportunities. Our two male dogs, Shadow and Bear, decided they needed to have their first dust up on Monday night. Thankfully, neither hurt the other one - but boy was it loud! Since this was the first time our pack had ever not gotten along, we decided to consult a professional. I was concerned that the back to back fosters was stressing our dogs out, and also that since Shadow and Bear are the same teen age age, we were in for some challenging times. We had a great conversation with Meg of Main Line Mutt Match ( She offered us some great advice on how to minimize the stress on our dogs from fostering. She also reassured us that we were introducing fosters to our dogs in a good way and that we clearly were maintaining control of our extended pack. It was really great to hear what were doing right and where we could improve the experience for all of us. Thanks Meg!

Our talk with Meg was just the start of the kindness we experienced this week. Pepper's Paws received several donations this week! Some people gave us bags of towels because our plea for donations inspired them to clean out their linen closets. Others gave us a bag or two of towels - several of them were not what I would call "old towels" - but they wanted to do something to help us because they love our facebook posts so much (I aim to please!) Some of our donations were the result of adult children "helping" their parents not be pack rats any more (you know who you are :) The result of all of this was a literal car full of towels, linens, and blankets being delivered to Philadelphia ACCT (thanks for dropping them off Peggy!) And the donations are still coming in so we will be checking with other rescues to see if they could use our next donation.

The kindness continued today when I met with Howard Weintraub, owner of The Drafting Room, to go over some details for the All 4 Paws Rescue's fundraiser at the Drafting Room on Saturday November 26 ( Not only did Howard offer to host the event and is donating a portion of draft sales to All 4 Paws Rescue, he also has gone above and beyond in getting local businesses to donate raffle prizes (Thank you Howard!) Be sure to check out the great food and beers at the Drafting Room and please come out and support All 4 Paws Rescue on the 26th!

All of these acts of kindness have made this a great week. The biggest learning point for me, though, came from our current foster dog, Sammy. Sammy is young collie mix who came to All 4 Paws from a high kill shelter in South Carolina. Sammy came off the transport van so excited to be here. He played for hours with the other dogs at the rescue and was a really sweet boy to every dog and human he met. And then he went to the adoption event and proceeded to sleep. He was exhausted, so he didn't make the best impression to the couple who was approved to adopt him. Since I had spent several hours with him earlier in the day, I was pretty sure he wasn't sick or a sad dog, so we decided to foster him. Something about his energy made me think he would be great with our guys.

When we got Sammy home he did OK with our dogs and us. He wasn't particularly friendly, or overly playful so we gave him a good meal and bath, and then a soft, warm bed. This morning, Sammy's true colors came through. He was playful, friendly, and loving. He was respectful of our dogs and showed them the good energy I knew he had. Within the first hour, we were all bonded. Sammy won't be with us long, I'm sure. He's just too sweet of a dog not to find a home quickly (even with it being Thanksgiving week - I have no doubt he'll find a home!)

Sammy has reminded me that just because someone is having a bad day, it doesn't make them bad or negative. We all would always like to make a great first impression, but sometimes things just don't go the way we wish they would. We all have the ability to bounce back and show our best sides, just like Sammy did. Sammy also taught me that I can trust my gut. I had a feeling about his energy and I trusted it, and it was a good decision. Trusting your gut is primal, so why do we sometimes ignore that little voice that says "You can do it!"? The next time you are faced with a situation where you gut is talking to you, think of Sammy and remember - you can do it!

On a separate and unrelated (or maybe it is related?) note, I am working on plans to start a part time dog walking business - more on this to come later :)

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