Saturday, March 26, 2011


The four legged members of our volunteer, Petra's family - that's what!

I can relate. I have a bias toward black and white too. Even my cat of 19 years was black and white and come to think of it, a lot of the clothes hanging in my closet are also black and white. My vet once told me that I was committed to that color scheme and should not attempt to branch out as I would be trying to dye a new comer black and white. When I tried to send her black and white roses after she helped my 15 year old cross the bridge, I could only find one arrangement, imported from Australia for $200.00 So, she had to settle for white with a black thank you note.

Would I be as crazy about bostons if they were not black and white? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I do admit however that I am not normally drawn to the brown and white variety although adorable in their own right.

Here is Petra's family. I chose to write a blog on this family and our volunteer because this picture shows the beauty of a well taken care of, well loved canine family. Yes, it is possible to have multiple dogs without living on a farm. I'm not suggesting that everyone can or should own 5 dogs. In addition to the cost, some counties have strict laws on how many dogs you can own. Three is a common number across Virginia. If you are allowed, have the time and resources, however, here is the proof that family portraits do come with 2 and 4 feet.

From left to right.. Pua, was a recent BTRNC rescue. We could tell from the frequency and wording of Petra's e-mails after Pua's arrival that there was a good chance that Pua was already home. I posted a blog on her a few months ago while she was still in foster status. Pua obviously is where she belongs. Next to Pua is Tike, an owner surrender who never even made it to official BTRNC status. Then there is Santino, Petra's first foster after becoming a volunteer. Santino came with issues and it was quickly apparent that Petra had what it took to work with Santino and his issues. He also has some health issues which may shorten his life span but don't tell him that. He's doing just fine as you can see. The last boston is Annie, the shelter dog who I suspect led Petra to join the boston crazy group. If you like this size dog, then one boston is usually all it takes to be hooked for life.
Who is that at the end of the row? A large boston? No, that's Kali who was there first by the way. She was a "free go good home" dog and much to her luck, Petra saw the ad first. BTRNC and other rescues are not at all a fan of these ads. Well meaning owners who want to avoid placing their dogs in shelters, open themselves and their loved pets open to the great unknown when you advertise in an open publication. Hoarders, scientists, just generally mean people to name a few can and will respond and can convince the owner that they are animal loves and want nothing more than to offer a good home to this pet. Sadly, how they seem upon meeting may not be the reality of their lives or the new life of the pet. This is why BTRNC takes applications and conducts home visits before releasing any of our rescues. This method is not fool proof either unfortunately, but it is infinitely better than a free to good home ad.

Kali has been very generous to open her home to all these mini black and white creatures. If you look closely at these pictures, however, you can see her leaning strongly as if contemplating her get away any second.

I thought readers might enjoy seeing these pictures as much as our members did when Petra posted them. Next Christmas I need to post our President's annual Christmas card - Santa and 4 or 5 senior bostons that were lucky enough to be found by Betsy to live out the second half of their lives.


What's that over there? Tike and Kali are over this photo shoot and and redy to roll.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Is that tug rope I see?

There is just something instinctive about a boston and the game tug of war. Not sure I would ever call it a war but it is definitely fun. The easiest thing in the world to teach, the fastest to learn and hours of fun. Just hold one end of a rope or a sock tied in the middle to a boston's mouth, they grab on, you pull back and the game is on! It works equally well with two dogs as they both seem to catch on immediately. When one lets go and the other one isn't done yet, the winner approaches his opponent shaking the rope fiercely until the other dog latches on again and round 2 has begun. Occasionally, a third dog will join in the middle of the rope but this doesn't usually last two long.

When you are the opponent, you must not allow the dog to ever make contact with your skin, accidentally or on purpose. This is an unacceptable foul and the game must stop and all interaction must cease for a few minutes to teach your boston that teeth against the human hand will not be tolerated. If your dog respects you and your skin, by all means, tug away.

Our new addition to the BTRNC family, Chubbs loves tug of war as you can see from the pictures. Show him the rope and the light goes on in his eyes.

Do it again - do it again!

When he is not playing tug, he enjoys car rides, his foster Mom's lap and cheerios. Cheerios truly are the wonder food, good for your heart, universally adored by toddlers and apparently Chubbs. What a great idea for treat training, small and healthy, so they won't spoil the appetite or put on extra pounds on this handsome young man.

Chubbs is clicker trained. The clicker can be anything that makes a consistent sound. They are usually thin metal against a metal edge in a hand held matchbook size plastic box, available at most pet stores. Associate the sound of the click with the verbal command behavior you seek with or without a treat reward, and eventually wean off the click and the treat, and the response will be given with just your verbal command. It is vital however that you do not stop the click sound or the treat if you began by using treats too soon or the behavior will not be reinforced and it will not be offered again. Ask me, I should know. I was so proud of the way young puppy Riley came to me when I used the clicker, I had to show my neighbors in the yard. Problem was, I didn't have any treats in my pocket. Twice he came to me immediately, gave me a sit and attention and twice I failed to deliver the treat. He is two now and he still pays no attention to the clicker and still has no recall. BUT, that is Riley, not Chubbs whose foster Mom has better sense than me, and will train Chubbs right and well so he will respond to commands for her and his forever home!

If you would like a partner for tug or have another dog who would like a tug partner, please check out this handsome boy on our available dogs page!

Friday, March 04, 2011


Two happy ending blogs in a row! I realized I don't do them nearly as often these days. Of course when new owners send us wonderful pictures like the ones here, they are easy to write.

Scampie's new Dad was so excited to get this boy that he and a friend took a road trip to meet his foster Mom. He brought two types of leashes and harnesses to make sure he had one that would fit his new boy. Here they are right after Scampie met them. Hmmm.. looking good.

Scampie clearly knew that all good things were going to happen for him. He has taken to his new home and life with all the joy and enthusiasm you could ever ask for.

Scampie gets to play tug, chew on a soft surface which looks suspiciously close to a remote control from my perspective and he now waits not so patiently peering out waiting for Dad to come home!

Sometimes a prospective adopter connects with a picture on our available dogs page and sometimes our placement coordinator has a feeling about a dog and a person before the picture ever gets up on the website. Sometimes, it seems that everyone connects with the same dog all at the same time. Then we have to try to match to the best of our abilities to the best home and let others know that "their pick" may have already found his forever home. In most cases, our wonderful families work with us to find what they thought was their second pick but turns out to be the best pick of all! Lastly, we have the wonderful healthy dogs that for some reason get passed over time and time again. We continue to learn that these dogs usually know who is supposed to come for them and they patiently wait until that human finds them. It takes longer for some than others and we are always so thankful that there are people out there who are willing to give these wonderful rescue dogs their second and sometimes third or fourth chance at the forever home they always deserved.

Scampie found his and it looks like everyone won in the end! You are a great little guy Scampie- we wish you a life filled with treats, toys and love.