Supporting Black Owned Businesses In the Pet Industry: Part One.

George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Eric Garner. Philando Castile. Trayvon Martin. And there are so many more.

It’s impossible to ignore to ignore what is going on and has been going on for centuries, and that is Black people are dying from systemic racism.

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with animal rescue? Why is a page devoted to pets talking about this?

It’s not that hard to look at many industries on social media and see nothing but white dominated accounts, and the pet industry is no different. That needs to change, and I want to help change that.

So, I want to share some amazing Black owned businesses in the pet industry for you to like, follow and financially support:

Ava’s Pet Palace: Owner, Ava Dorsey is such a superstar! At 12 years old (yes, you read that correctly), Ava runs her own organic pet treat company. I can tell you that at that age, I was still playing with Barbies. My dogs are going to be so excited when their treats arrive. @avaspetpalace

The Bark Shoppe: Founder and CEO, Melissa Mitchner, runs a premium pet care facility in New York. She offers daycare, boarding and grooming. Not in NYC? Well, Melissa has variety of really amazing grooming products, t-shirts and Pride Boxes for purchase. Can’t wait for my t-shirt to arrive! @thebarkshoppe

Trill Paws: Owner and Founder, Rachel, offers a variety of adorable and fun pet tags, toys, collars & leashes and stickers (perfect for your laptop). You can even get your pet’s name engraved on the tag. What did I order? You’ll have to wait and see. @trillpaws

Sir Dogwood: Creator and Owner, Chaz, offers high quality and very fashionable dog wear and accessories for your pup. It doesn’t matter if your dog is 10lbs or 130lbs, Sir Dogwood has something that will for the most fashionable dog out there. How cute would Dolly be with a velvet leash? @sirdogwood

Bark First Avenue: Founder and CEO, Deana Evans, believes in seeing pets living their best lives and looking fabulous while doing it. It can be challenge finding fun clothes and accessories for larger breeds, so Deana decided to change that. I’m trying to decide what to get Dolly. @barkfirstavenue

House Dogge: Owner and Designer, Angela Medlin, wanted to find quality and sustainable dog products for her dog, Wubbi, so she created House Dogge. Angela is no stranger to creating top quality products as she is a Former Nike Design Director. I know some people who got a puppy, so I think a new toy would be a good gift. @housedogge

ScotchandTea: Owner and Creator, Khrys Nikole Solano, has been busy making not only collars and bandanas, she has also been making hand made masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has also been working hard on making and donating masks to Black Lives Matter protests happening. I think the dogs and I could use some matching masks and bandanas and I’m looking at the ice cream one. @scotch.tea

Homescpe Pets: Owners, Nana and Marcus, created their own hemp & CBD based products after a medical emergency with their dog, Beau. And to ensure quality control, their two adorable pups, Quinn and Minnie test and use all of their products. Does your dog have anxiety like Freckles? Look at some CBD. @homescapepets

BrockNBone: Owner and Creator, Elyssa Jenkins, was inspired by her adorable pup, Cavapoo Brock, to create and make her own line of bandanas as well as matching headbands. I mean, who doesn’t love matching with their pup? I think Freckles and I would look cute in matching accessories. @brocknbone

LeelaRyan: Owner, Vanessa Malzahn, created her own line of vegan dog treats after finding that most treats on the market either smelled like liver factory or were full of junk. Her treats are made form limited ingredients and have no artificial flavours. I know my dogs would likely drool at these. @leelaryan

Smart Bitch Dog Training: Owners, Jio and Taylor, are certified force-free Professional Dog Trainers. Even though they based out of New Orleans, they do offer online training classes. So if you are looking to work with an awesome force-free trainer, check them out! I think I have to look at some training classes for Max and his barking. @smartbitchdogtraining

Stay tuned for Part Two where I feature more amazing Black owned businesses in the pet industry!

Max’s Tumour – Recovery and Going Forward

Following up from part one talking about Max’s tumour, the biggest challenge for us with him was trying to keep the incision spot dry. That’s not an easy thing to do while it’s winter in Edmonton and there’s about 20cm of snow on the ground.

The 12 days following his surgery seemed like 12 months. He couldn’t go for long walks or back to daycare until his stitches were out. While it was amazing to see him return to his normal active self the day after surgery, it definitely meant that he was going to get bored and annoying (to me) very quickly. He also was not a fan of having to go on a leash to go out in the backyard because we needed to prevent him from running into the snowbank to do his business.

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Max and Nurse Freckles

The following Friday after his surgery, I took him back to the vet for a check up and to get his stitches out. I also had not heard anything regarding the results of surgery and if I needed to brace for bad news. Enough to say that those 12 days were filled with anxiety and worry of not knowing.

When the vet tech brought him back after removing his stitches (he had healed exceptionally well), she said the vet wanted to speak with me about his results. I started to sweat and my mind went to a very awful place.

When she sat down and spoke with me, she told me that it was a mast cell tumour and that it was a level 2. Immediately, I thought she was going to tell me he required more surgery and radiation. My head began to spin.

Then, she told me that it was a very low grade level two and that the lab results from the wide margins taken came back clean. The tumour had been removed successfully and he was cancer free. I started to cry. There are no words to describe the ultimate relief I had in that moment. While she said there’s always a chance of it returning, she said that will be very unlikely in his case. I’ve never been so happy from a drive home from the vet in my entire life.

One big factor that I truly believe contributed his tumour being such a low grade and not spreading was because of his diet.

Prior to his surgery, I researched the role that diet plays in mast cells and cancer in dogs. And not shocking, it plays a huge role.

One of the biggest things mast cells feed off of and thrive off of his grains and sugars. That’s why one of the things I found when I looked up different holistic options was eliminating all grains and starchy carbohydrates from his diet. Nutrition for your pets matters, so make sure you know what you are feeding your dogs.

Thankfully, all of my dogs had been transitioned over to a raw diet, so really the biggest thing I did was change up his treat options. Instead of treats with any sort of grain or wheat in them, he strictly gets dehydrated meat such as chicken breast, lamb lungs and trachea, rabbit ears and kangaroo liver. I’ve also started to add in supplements such as turmeric and coconut oil as both has been shown to help reduce inflammation and fight off cancer cells.

In the end, you are not going to be able to prevent things happening to your pets (or yourself). The advice I will give to pet owners out there is check your pets and if you see something that doesn’t look right, do not wait to get it looked at. You never know if a lump is something more than just a lump.

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Finally able to go for a long walk.

Introducing: Max

Today I would like to introduce everyone to my dog Max.  But this is no normal introduction.  As all my dogs have unique personalities, I thought I would showcase them in a fun way.  So please enjoy what I think Max’s online dating profile would look like.

Name: Max Somerset

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Nicknames: Maxy, Maximus, Maxy Moo, Moops, Mooples, Booboo, Squish, Squishy Bishy, Skeesh

Age: 8

Breed: French Bulldog/Boston Terrier AKA. Frenchton

Body Type: Squishy

Likes: Food, barking at everything and everyone, getting treats, making weird noises while trying to get a blanket, sleeping, eating, being warm, sunshine, summer weather, walks (but only when it’s not too hot or too cold), Grandma, going to the farm back in Shauanvon, sticking my butt too close to fireplace, digging up carrots from Grandma’s garden, being grumpy, sometimes going to daycare, being smug AF.

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Dislikes: Every other dog, people we walk by, people who walk by the house, people who drive by the house, any motion outside the house, bunnies in the neighbourhood, my arch nemesis the one eyed Shar Pei in the neighbourhood, getting baths, being cold, being in the car for too long, waking up, wearing booties and a jacket in winter, not having food in my bowl, my sister stepping on me, the fireplace not being on, mom telling me to stop putting my butt toward the fireplace, people farting (especially if I’m laying on them, so gross), waiting for food, going to the vet, the vet having to put a muzzle on me because I nip.

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Favourite Food: All of them

Ideal Saturday Night: Eating supper right at 5pm, sitting on daddy’s lap, laying in front of the fireplace a little too close, getting too hot, going outside, getting a treat and going to bed around 10pm.

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Goals In Life: Bark at all the dogs, bark at all the random strangers, pee on all the trees and eat all the treats, run really fast for a short time.

Puppies: None that I’m aware of. Sorry ladies, that ship has sailed as I have been fixed. Plus, as if I want to deal with that and share my attention and treats with puppies.

Adoptive Satus: Taken. Mom and dad adopted me from Alberta Bulldog Rescue six years ago.

Interested in seeing more of Max? Follow me on Instagram @fortheloveofanimalrescue

Animal Rescue Profile: Alberta Bulldog Rescue

This month’s animal rescue profile is Alberta Bulldog Rescue.

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Five years ago, we adopted our squishy face French Bulldog/Boston Terrier, Max through Alberta Bulldog Rescue.

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Alberta Bulldog Rescue is a shelterless, non profit organization that was founded back in 2009.  They focus on rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing French and English Bulldogs.   They primarily take in dogs that are personal surrenders, breeder surrenders and rescue transfers.

As of right now, they have been forced to do a freeze on intakes.  This is due to taking in dogs with multiple medical issues and not having the funds to cover all the costs.  If you are able to DONATE, please consider doing so.  Even $20 will make a difference.

Along with donating, you can help out in other ways:

Click HERE to adopt

Click HERE to volunteer

Click HERE to Like them on Facebook

Choosing A Breeder: What To Know

I want to first start off by stating that yes, this blog is about animal rescue, and I am a big supporter of adopting animals (hence why I use the #adoptdontshop hashtag on social media).  But, I understand that people love certain breeds of animals and there is nothing wrong with that.  I totally understand that as I love Boston Terriers.  I always have and I always will, and there will probably be a time where I go through a CKC registered breeder to get a Boston Terrier puppy in the future.

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My sweet boy, Bandit

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Sweet little Freckles

We have had two of them over the years (and one Boston/French Bulldog) and I can honestly say that we will always have at least one as part of our family.  We can’t have breeds like labs, shepherds or huskies due to Dean being allergic to them (specifically, the dander).

Before we adopted Freckles, we were in contact with a CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) Boston Terrier breeder.  Sadly the litter we were planning to choose from did not survive as the mom had serious complications and had to be spayed immediately after.  As sad as we were, things worked out and we were able to welcome Freckles to our family.

Yes, we wanted to go through a rescue but, sometimes it’s not always possible (especially if you are looking for certain breeds like Boston Terriers).  There are certain behavioural issues that we are just not equipped to deal with (ie. aggression towards other dogs or humans or extreme separation anxiety) which can honestly be tough to find a dog who doesn’t have behavioural issues if you are looking at going through a rescue as they usually have lived through incredibly challenging environments.

This is one of the reasons why people may choose to go through a breeder.  The problem lies in the fact that most people do not do their homework when it comes to breeders.  Most people will not take the time to research and find a CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) or AKC (America Kennel Club) breeder, and may simply turn to sites like kijiji or Craigslist.  They want a puppy and are not willing to pay the thousands (yes, purebred dogs from championship bloodlines will cost you in the thousands) or if they are, they are unaware of who they are giving their money to.  People are usually unaware they are getting their dog from an unlicensed backyard breeder.

Well, what’s so bad about that?

Backyard breeders are only in it to make money.  They do not care about the wellbeing or health of the animal.  These dogs are forced to live in crates without ever going outside.  They are never or rarely ever house trained.  They never get their vaccinations to prevent them from getting diseases such as bordetella (aka. kennel cough) and can die from the bacterial strain, and rarely get any veterinary care except if something is seriously wrong or jeopardizing that dog’s ability to breed.

By getting your animal from a backyard breeder, you may be getting a dog that is extremely sick and there have been many cases of that and where the dog (which is usually a puppy) has to be put down.  Backyard breeders have been known to dock certain breeds tails or ears in non-sterile or anatomically beneficial manners, and those dogs usually end up with infections or risk paralysis from spinal nerve damage because the “breeders” don’t know what they are doing.

Once a dog no longer produces puppies for them, those dogs are disposable. Freckles was a dog that her original owners thought she was disposable.  They actually took her (a two year old Boston Terrier) to the vet to be put down because she was no use to them anymore after she was no longer able to have puppies. When she was young she developed an eye injury, and because she is a fairly rare ginger coloured boston terrier, they opted to have surgery to keep her alive, but then forced her to have litter after litter to recoup the costs of the surgery. In the end, the owners surrendered her for all of $50 to an animal rescue volunteer in order to cover the remaining costs of vaccinations following her surgery.

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That little lip

 

By going through sites like kijiji and Craigslist, these are the kinds of people you are supporting (as registered breeders NEVER advertise on these kind of sites).

How do I know I’m going through a registered breeder?

There are a number of things that registered breeders will do and not do.  The first is that they will have you fill out an application form (just like all rescue organizations do).  They want to make sure their dogs are going to a proper home.  They will take the time to ask you questions and they are willing to answer any questions that you will have.  They will allow you to see the parents in person if you ask (this is a huge red flag if they don’t).  They will have certificates of being CKC or AKC registered (you can also check on the CKC or AKC website to see if they are good standing with them) and will have all the certificates for their dogs and show the genealogy of the dog and through at least 2 generations.  They will never allow you to take a puppy home earlier than 8-12 weeks (again, huge red flag if it’s earlier than that).  They will ween, crate train and house train the puppy for you, and ensure they have received all mandatory vaccinations up to the age they release the puppy for adoption.

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My sister’s dog, Stanley is a CKC Registered Swiss Mountain Dog

There will also be very strict health standards that any of their animals will need to have met before being bred.  If they do not meet these standard, that animal will not be bred.  Their animals will also only be allowed to be bred a very small amount of times and will not be immediately after every single litter.

They will make you sign an agreement where you will NOT be allowed to breed that dog and will also have in the agreement that you will spay or neuter that dog.  They will not meet you in a random parking lot somewhere, grab the cash, throw the dog at you and run (if they do, they are are backyard breeder and do NOT give them money).

Going through a registered breeder will never 100% guarantee an animal’s long term health.  I know someone that went through a registered breeder for a Boxer and the Boxer ended up with a brain tumour and had to be put down at the age of five.

I know there are people who are going to read this and be angry that I am talking about going through a breeder and not only adopting.  Yes, in a ideal world, everyone would adopt an animal and not go through breeders. However, in many cases, animals who come from backyard breeders tend to wind up as rescue dogs, much like Freckles. By understanding how to avoid backyard breeders when you’re looking for a specific breed, you can ensure you end this barbaric practice and avoid those who only want money without looking out for the welfare of their animals.

In an ideal world, animal rescue organizations should not exist.  All animals should be loved, cared for and wanted.  Everyone would spay and neuter their animal.  No one would every abandon or abuse their animal.  There would also be no such thing as racism, bigotry, misogyny, poverty, addiction or abuse either in an ideal world.

All I (and those involved with animal rescue) can do is educate people to make informed choices.  I will always support animal rescue (through either volunteering, donating or adopting when I can) even if I ever choose to go through a CKC registered breeder to add to our family.  The two do not have to mutually exclusive.  We will always have rescues in our home, and will always have Boston Terriers as well.