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Paddy The Pibble

posted October 3rd, 2015 by
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By Lauren Cavagnolo

 

It was a Wednesday in June when Tiffany Kinsey found Paddy in a parking lot near her office in downtown Oklahoma City. The timid dog had a large padlock on her collar though she appeared well cared for with great teeth and newly trimmed nails. Kinsey and a coworker spent the morning feeding Paddy treats, working to earn her trust.

“The neighborhood I work in isn’t a safe one. Houses are abandoned, people roam continuously and animals are often discarded like trash,” Kinsey says on her Facebook page.

Kinsey and her coworker eventually found the duplex where the dog had been chained and abandoned without food inside. The man living on the other side said the owner just showed up with her one day and skipped town the next.

Concerned that Paddy may have been stolen, Kinsey took her to the city shelter where her rightful owners would be able to claim her. Before dropping her off, Kinsey told the dog she would return for her if no one else did, a promise she did not make lightly.

For the three days the young dog spent in the city shelter, Kinsey worked to make arrangements and line up foster care, preparing for the possibility that no owner would claim the dog she had begun calling Paddy the Pibble.

For those unfamiliar with the word “pibble,” it’s a term of affection for the breed most of us know as Pit Bulls.

Ultimately, no owner would come looking for Paddy, and no rescue was in a position to take her.

“I’ve always had a passion for the under-dog, no matter if that was a person or an animal,” Kinsey said. “I’m a special edu-cation teacher, so the kiddos with emotional disturbances that get a bad reputation, those were my favorites. Obviously, Pit Bulls are the most misunderstood breed of dog there is, so of course, I connect with them.”

Overcoming Obstacles

Kinsey and her husband Ryan were not necessarily looking to add to their family when Paddy came into their lives. With two dogs and four cats—all of them rescues—their home was already full. But Kinsey had made a promise.

“Words can’t describe the feelings I had as Ryan and I walked back to her cage at the shelter. I had gone through hell and back to be able to look her in her eyes and show her I had come back for her. I cried such happy tears the moment I saw her face, and Paddy gave kisses, wagged her tail and wiggled her butt in gratitude. The freedom ride was so much fun to see her smile and want to love on us. I knew this was a very special girl.”

However, their journey together was only getting started. From the shelter, Kinsey took Paddy straight to the veterinarian’s office where they found out she had hookworms and was heartworm positive. Later that day, she came down with a severe upper respiratory infection, and it was determined that she would need round-the-clock care.

For more than two months, Paddy stayed at the veterinarian’s office, recovering from all of her health issues until she was well enough to be spayed and sent home.

Shortly after bringing Paddy home, Kinsey knew that something was not right. “I could see the storm brewing in her eyes and mind and knew it was only a matter of time before one of my animals got seriously hurt or worse,” she says.

Kinsey brought in dog behaviorist Michael Mehtala, founder of Mehtala Method of Dog Behavior, who agreed with her concerns. He recommended Paddy complete a Wellness Training, which requires the dog stay in the home of a behaviorist.

In Mehtala’s 11 years of experience, he has worked with more than 100 Pit Bulls, many of them just like Paddy.

“Paddy had no idea how to be social around humans or other dogs; her prey drive was out of control, resulting in her trying to attack smaller dogs, cats and even a drive at children,” Mehtala said. “Aside from that, Paddy was very underweight for her breed, and she was in terrible health. By society’s standards, Paddy was a dog that would have hit death row very quickly.”

In her training, Paddy is learning how to socialize with people and dogs, how to eat without aggression, walk on a leash and many other skills that will help her reintegrate with Tiffany, Ryan and the other animals that share their home when she returns on December 2.

For the first three weeks, Paddy was muzzle trained, meaning she was required to wear a muzzle around any other dogs and people, with the exception of one-on-one training with Mehtala. She then graduated to hip training, in which she was attached to Mehtala’s waist with a special cinch leash. This allows for unwanted behavior to be corrected immediately.

Mehtala says there is no such thing as a bad dog or bad breed and that education for owners is key.

“I have never worked with a dog that I wasn’t able to help or assist, but I have worked with humans who are unwilling to learn or apply the help that their dog desperately needs,” Mehtala said. “If a dog is performing a behavior that is unwanted, look at yourself first. Remember dogs are not people, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be treated with any less love or affection, but that love and affection should only be given at proper times.”

Paddy—The Pibble with a Promise

Not long after finding Paddy in the parking lot, Kinsey created a Facebook page for her: “Paddy—The Pibble with a Promise.” With more than 2,700 fans, Kinsey was able to share Paddy’s story around the world.

“She has reached people far and wide, and that’s incredible to me,” Kinsey said. “A lot of those people are very involved and want to know about her progress. They are the heart and soul of all of this.”

Paddy’s return home, however, will not be the end of her Facebook page.

“I want to show her new adventures and show her life with the people who have been there since day one. I also want to show other dogs in need. And we do that now.”

Paddy’s progress with behaviorist Mehtala has also been well documented through videos posted to the page and has led to a documentary project on Pit Bulls.

“[Mehtala] and I were talking about how both of us have been involved in rescue for a really long time, but neither one of us has been a part of something this big,” Kinsey said. “It’s surreal; it’s been quite the ride. So he said ‘Let’s do a documentary. Look how many lives she is touching and  changing all over the world. Let’s show    even more people; let’s show how Pit Bulls came about.’”

According to Mehtala, the documentary will cover the history of Pit Bulls and educate people on the true nature of the breed. Mehtala is the creator, editor and producer of the film.

Tentatively set for a mid-December release date, the documentary will come out not long after Paddy will finally get to go home to her happily ever after.

How Can You Help?

Between all of her health issues and need for rehabilitation, Paddy has racked up quite a few bills.

“We weren’t expecting to keep Paddy; we were hoping to get her into a rescue, but she was so sick,” Kinsey said. Boarded for more than two months, Kinsey made visits to check on Paddy daily and really bonded with her.

To date, Paddy’s vet bills have totaled $3,506.41, and her rehabilitation bill came to $4,100 for a grand total of $7,606.41. Most of that bill has been covered by just over $6,700 in donations.

Outside of monetary donations, fans have sent items including blankets, treats and dog food, as well as personal notes and photos of themselves wearing Paddy the Pibble T-shirts (sent to anyone who makes a $20 donation).

Kinsey says she hopes Paddy’s story will inspire others.

“It has never been about ‘just a dog’,” Kinsey said. “This fight is bigger than that. It’s bigger than all of us! It is about doing the right thing, supporting others in their cause, leaving the world a better place than we found it, refusing to be silent about suffering of any kind, and being a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. I personally feel that we all share this duty.”

She isn’t sure just how many people drove by Paddy before she saw her and hopes others will think twice before looking the other way.

“It’s hard because rescues are full, but there are ways,” Kinsey said. In addition to shelters and lost and found pages, you can put up posters and contact rescues for assistance.

Kinsey, who is on the board of a dog rescue in Norman called Groovy Paws, says that’s how she became involved with the group in the first place.

“I was helping a friend with two Pit Bulls last fall. No rescue could take them, but I was committed to them and ended up driving them to Missouri to get them to a rescue,” Kinsey recalls.

In calling around to various rescues, Kinsey contacted Groovy Paws. She was told they were a small dog rescue and could not take in the Pit Bulls she was seeking placement for, but instead was offered 100 pounds of dog food and bedding.

“People will do that,” Kinsey said of the rescue’s assistance.

Though Paddy was the one found on the streets in poor health and in need of rescue, Kinsey tells a bit of a different story.

“Paddy is an amazing soul that deserves this second chance,” Kinsey said. “She inspires me daily, and I continue to learn from her ability to trust in people despite the pain they caused her in the past. Throughout this journey to save her, I found it to be my very own soul that was rescued.”

Dogtober for half-price dog adoptions

posted October 1st, 2015 by
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AdoptionsOctober is when nature puts on its grandest display of eye-popping colors, and you can help make it ‘Dogtober’ for the OKC Animal Shelter’s colorful canines by taking advantage of half-price dog adoptions.

Whether it’s a red cocker spaniel, a brindle terrier or a chocolate lab, the shelter’s adoptable dogs are in need of good homes.

“Dogs brighten our lives with their warmth and companionship,” said Animal Welfare Superintendent Julie Bank. “What could be more fun than frolicking in the autumn air with your new canine companion?”

But while it might be tempting to choose a new dog because of its golden locks, rust-colored kiss marks on its cheeks or a pair of dark, chocolate eyes, it’s important to consider lots of factors when adopting a dog. Be sure to choose a dog at the right age, size and temperament for your situation.

All adoptable pets at the Animal Shelter are up-to-date on vaccinations, treated for worms and spayed or neutered. The Animal Shelter, 2811 SE 29, is open for adoptions every day but holidays from noon to 5:45 p.m. Visit www.okc.gov/animalwelfare for more information.

Stay in touch with the City and Animal Welfare, which will have numerous outreach and adoption events this fall:

Watch City Channel 20 on Cox Cable or live anywhere on YouTube.

PupPod

posted September 28th, 2015 by
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New US pet toy ‘PupPod’ promises to keep pups active and engaged while owners are away.

PupPod allows:

  • Pet parents to watch live video of their pups and interact remotely with them as their dogs play
  • Offers a new way to reduce boredom, destructive behaviour and separation anxiety
  • Allows dogs to learn new skills while owners are at work

 Pup Pod

No more lonely, bored dogs.

 

PupPod is a new interactive pet toy that helps reduce boredom, anxiety and destructive behavior in your dog, helping them learn new skills when you’re at away. Pet parents can tune in and interact with their dog while they’re playing with PupPod as well as share and compare progress with friends via a mobile app.

Seattle based Erick Eidus, CEO and founder of PupPod said: “The response to PupPod has been amazing. After dogs have tested it and I go to pack it up, dogs tend to look at me like ‘hey, don’t take my toy away.’ You can tell they are totally engaged and want to keep playing and learning.”

“The feedback we’ve received from the Kickstarter campaign to date has been amazing. We’ve heard from dog experts as well as pet parents who all think that what we are doing is a real break-through in stimulating dogs mentally. Dogs can play PupPod on their own and the game evolves so that the dog is always challenged. In a recent interview with the Discovery Channel, their science reporter said that in four years of covering technology, he’d never seen anything like PupPod and he was super excited about the product.”

“PupPod is actually a very ambitious project. There’s the toy and treat dispenser for the dog. There’s the video camera in the hub for streaming video to a pet parents phone. There’s the PupCloud service and algorthms to analyze all the data from game play so the dog is always challenged and pet parents can start to understand what their dog is thinking and how their dog compares to other dogs of the same breed or age. And we have big plans – a roadmap for a series of toys that all connect to PupPod.”

“PupPod is really a platform to connect dogs and pet parents in a way that hasn’t been available before.”

See it at http://puppod.com/

Deaf Dogs Can Learn New Tricks Too

posted September 26th, 2015 by
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American Sign Language bridges communication for owners and albino dogs

By Brianna Broersma

 

A special group of dogs live right here in Oklahoma City.  Ceasar, Swayze, Deeyenda and Marvel are all deaf and have limited vision. Their owner, Mrs. Rojas, uses American Sign Language to communicate with them. Rojas has taught them basic signs such as “sit,” “speak” and “outside.”  Rojas says, “I look at the sign I need and teach them the behavior to go with it.”

The dogs’ hearing and vision problems can be attributed to irresponsible breeding.  In some breeds, a “merle” or “dapple” pattern is prized. This means that there are patches of lighter color fur on the dogs’ coats. Some breeders will try to breed two merle dogs together in order to increase the percent of merle puppies in a litter. However, if two merle or dapple dogs are bred together, the effect is cumulative, and it can lead to a “double merle” dog with a completely white coat. This can also remove pigment from the inner ear that is necessary for normal functioning.

Rojas’ dogs inherited their traits from such breeding practices. Ceasar is a 2-year-old Great Dane, and his deafness resulted from Harlequin-to-Harlequin breeding. (A Harlequin Great Dane has Dalmatian-like coloring.) Seven-month-old Mini Dachshund  Deeyenda had two dapple parents. Swayze, a 1-year-old Australian Shepherd, is a “double merle,” a product of merle-to-merle breeding. Rojas’s 6-month-old Rough Collie, Marvel, has an “extreme white pattern.” This removes a large amount of pigment from the face and ears, often resulting in deafness.  Rojas says, “These issues are completely preventable with responsible breeding.”

Other effects include light-sensitive eyes that can have “starburst” pupils. If Rojas takes her dogs out during daylight hours, she has to put special goggles on them. The sunlight is harsh on their eyes and skin,  due to the lack of pigment, Rojas says. She also needs to put special sunscreen on them to ensure they won’t get sunburned. Often, Rojas finds it easier to take them out during twilight or nighttime hours to protect their eyes and skin.

They are viewed as a burden, and Rojas says, “Usually breeders will kill these dogs because they are not profitable.” Sometimes “double merle” dogs can have related health issues such as digestive disorders, skin disorders and seizures. They can also have allergic reactions to some medications.

She has actually had to convince breeders to give her their dogs instead of killing them.  She is hoping to get therapy dog licenses so that her dogs can visit nursing homes, convalescent hospitals or other therapeutic settings.  She also fosters/rescues deaf dogs until a permanent home can be found.

She believes “it’s easier to train deaf dogs because they get distracted less” and actually prefers deaf dogs to hearing dogs.

“Deaf dogs are just like any other dogs,” she says, regarding the training process. When teaching a hearing dog, the owner or trainer teaches with a verbal “yes” or a clicker when a command is obeyed. Then the dog is rewarded with praise or a treat.

“Well, with a deaf dog, you show the American Sign Language sign you are trying to teach,” Rojas says. “For example, ‘sit.’ You stand in front of your deaf dog and show him the ASL sign for sit. Once he sits, immediately show him the ASL sign for ‘yes!’ Then you give him a treat. He learns, ‘OK, when she shows me this sign, and I sit, I get a treat and the yes sign. Therefore, I’m doing what I’m asked to do.’   Be consistent, and they will learn.

“Teaching ‘outside’ is easy too. Just like asking a hearing dog, ‘Do you want to go outside?’ …With a deaf dog, I stand at the door and show him the ASL [sign] for ‘outside,’ then open the door. He learns, ‘OK, when she shows me this sign, she lets me out.’ So he learns to remember what each sign means with each action. It’s actually easy and less challenging than you would think. Dogs are not born knowing English or Spanish or ASL. They learn when they hear a word, or in my dogs’ case, when they see a word and learn its meaning.”

Another tool Rojas employs is a vibration collar, not to be confused with a shock collar. It is used much like a clicker. Instead of click and reward, the dog gets buzzed and rewarded. “This is an important behavior to learn since when they feel the buzz, they look for the handler for a cookie/reward or instruction in ASL.

“This is so important,” she says. “If for any reason your dog is far off—let’s say at the dog park—and you need to call your dog, you can buzz, and they will think, ‘Oh my mom’s calling me!’ They will immediately look for you to give a command, such as come here, go to the car, stop, or look here.”

For anyone with a deaf dog, Rojas and her pets are inspiration that their pets too can lead a happy, obedient, high-quality life.

She has started a Facebook group to get “double merle” pet parents in contact with one another. It includes owners from all over the country and even international members. The group can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/202055833234792/. Members share information, photographs and support for raising these special dogs. For more information, contact Rojas under the name “Haulinauss Deafdog Interpreter” on Facebook.

Complete list of ASL signs that Rojas uses with her dogs:

1    Speak

2    Sit

3    Lay down

4    Outside

5    Go to bed

6    No

7    Yes

8    Good boy

9    Car

10  Cookie

11  Inside house

12  Move over

13  Back up

14  Stop

15  Walk

16  Look

17  Water

18  Food

19  Drop it

20  Come here

21  Go to dad

22  Up

23  Heel

24  Shake

Barking Dog Bakery – OKC

posted September 26th, 2015 by
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Ween Pic 30

Ween Pic 31It turns out I am not Mom and Pops’ biological child. I know this is shocking. Since they don’t know when my actual birthday is, they decided to celebrate my Adoption Anniversary with a trip to Barking Dog Bakery, 10455 N. May Ave. Barking Dog has a variety of handmade treats made with high quality ingredients just for me! You can also special order birthday/celebration cakes, and they’ll even do custom cakes for kitties, if you are so inclined. In addition they have a boutique of packaged upscale treats and pup accessories.

Mom and Pops let me sniff around a little… Read More

Fuzzy’s Tacos – Edmond

posted September 26th, 2015 by
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Ween Pic 29We have been huge fans of the Fuzzy’s Tacos in Bricktown for some time now, so saying that we are super excited for Edmond to finally have a Fuzzy’s, well, that is an understatement! Mom and Pops have been doing drive-bys of the new location, 1462 S. Bryant, Edmond, just waiting for news of its opening. This week it finally happened. If you’re thinking we might be a bit too enthusiastic over tacos, you have obviously never been to Fuzzy’s!

First off, we give HUGE props to Fuzzy’s for being actively dog-friendly (see sign to the left). We weren’t really worried, since we know that other locations welcome wieners and my kind, but it is always nice when businesses want me there. That just means they will be getting more of Pops’ money. Also, their beer is served in big goblets, which always seems to make Mom and Pops be in a better mood. Third, their food is super… Read More