We have been hit hard recently by many urgent medical issues and of course our first and foremost reaction is to help those unable to help themselves. We are on a mission to save as many lives as we possibly can and without your financial help, we cannot support that mission.
Please consider contributing to our medical care campaign and know that every penny we receive goes directly to the medical care of the dogs in our care.
All of our adoptable canines are up to date on age appropriate vaccinations, spayed/neutered (puppies at 5 months except for xlg breeds – they are altered at one year. We do have a “Foster to Adopt” program for our puppies so that they are able to be placed in approved adoptive homes earlier but, not officially adopted until they have been altered), micro-chipped at time of adoption (due to recent events, the micro-chip is registered and remains registered to this rescue) and receive flea/tic/heartworm preventative.
Requirements to adopt: you must be 21 years of age or older, have a securely fenced in yard attached off of your home, we do not approve underground fencing. There are rare times that we make exceptions for people who live in a condo/apartment depending upon the canine they are interested in. Adoptee must be a part of the family and live inside of the home and at no time be tethered outside or off leash in an unsecured area.
Process to adopt: Schedule an appointment to visit, we will at that time provide adoption counseling to ensure we understand your desires in a new family member, lifestyle etc., you’ll meet and hopefully choose which of our kids you are interested in adopting, fill out the adoption application on our website online www.bitofheaven.org , once reviewed and if approved a home visit is scheduled. The potential adoptee is brought to your home for this, if the home visit is approved he/she stays at that time, the adoption fee is paid and a legal binding adoption contract between the adopter and this rescue is signed and kept on file for future reference if needed.
After adoption: The majority of our adopters are happy to keep in touch with us and let us know how their new family member is doing. However, we do follow up on our kids to ensure everything is going well on a scheduled basis. As our adoption contract states: “ Let it also be understood that at anytime you find yourself in the position to no longer care for or retain the pet(s) adopted from us, they are to be returned to this rescue immediately “ We do enforce this and will bring legal suit against those that breach our contract and legally take possession of our canine regardless of placement to another done by the original adopter unlawfully. Our goal in placing our canines into homes is to ensure the environment they are in is suitable and safe according to our standards and requirements.
Their bodies may be imperfect, but their spirit remains intact.
So it is said about the special needs dog. Although caring for one can be challenging, more and more people are opening their hearts and their homes and adopting them. For this reason, more and more dogs who might otherwise be euthanized are being given a new “leash” on life.
Experts stress the importance of not viewing special needs dogs as “handicapped.” Although they have certain limitations (including partial paralysis, three leggedness, blindness or deafness), they’re not “aware” of them, and can be as active and affectionate as any other dog.
Adopters of special needs dogs insist the rewards outweigh the work. Many use social media to share their experiences, to interact with owners like them, and to encourage others to adopt. They don’t see these dogs’ medical or physical problems as a shortcoming, and don’t believe it makes them any less of a dog.
Those interested in adopting a special needs dog should first fully inform themselves about that dog’s condition, limitations, and maintenance. This includes meeting with their vet, requesting a tutorial on administering medications, and asking if they will make house calls. If not, they should ask to be referred to someone who will.
The quality of life for special needs dogs has been greatly enhanced by the growing number of products available to their owners. There are pet diapers, no-slip boots, orthotic braces, prosthetics, and front, back, combination and amputee harnesses. Ramps, pet steps, pet stairs and pet carts. Adjustable pet wheelchairs that can accommodate dogs weighing up to 180 pounds. And because partially paralyzed pets frequently get carpet burns when out of their chairs, there are washable, heavy-duty “drag bags” to protect their back ends.
Sadly, dogs who are blind or deaf have been characterized as aggressive, unpredictable, untrainable, prone to other health issues, and even a shorter life span. Studies, however, have proven otherwise. They have shown that despite their obvious deficiencies, these dogs are generally quite healthy and capable of living long, otherwise normal lives. And that, whether blind or deaf, they are no more aggressive, unpredictable or untrainable than sighted or hearing dogs.
Blind dogs are trained through the use of both sound and scent cues. By relying on their highly developed sense of smell, their noses let them know where and what things are, and when combined with their owners’ reassuring voice and touch, helps them live as normally and comfortably as possible.
They quickly learn and “map out” their surroundings, and for added protection, have their own “go to” place, created by putting their food and water bowls, doggie bed, kennel, and several favorite toys (squeaky toys or ones with bells inside are best) on a distinctive mat, and never moved. A carpeted runner or large area rug provides them with safe play area because the traction is good and the edges clearly discernible.
Sharp edges on furniture can be padded with bubble-wrap or foam pipe insulation to help prevent injury. Any stairways should be baby-gated, and a textured mat laid before each one to alert the dog to the gates’ proximity. And all outside activities, from pottying to playing, should be done either in a securely fenced yard or securely on leash.
Deaf or hard-of-hearing dogs are trained through the use of sign language or hand signals with treats as reinforcement. Vibrations are also used, such as walking with a “heavy foot” if their attention is elsewhere, and stomping close to their bed or near their head to waken them rather than touching and startling them. Lights can also be used as a teaching tool to get their attention, but, of course, this works best as night.
Since they bond instantly with their owners, placing their trust and safekeeping in their hands, deaf dogs always look to them for guidance and follow where their owner leads. As with blind dogs, all outside activities, from pottying to playing, should be done either in a securely fenced yard or securely on leash.
Because there is nothing inherently “wrong” with them, deaf dogs can do almost anything hearing dogs do. Many of them excel at agility and obedience, and make excellent therapy dogs.
As the owners of special needs dogs readily agree, their own lives have been irrevocably changed. By the sweetness and determination of the animals they adopted. By the smiles they elicit and the kisses they distribute. And most importantly, by the inspiration these dogs provide, not only for them, but for everyone around them.
How many times have we humans heard the expression, “You’re only as old as you feel”? And why is it that some days, despite our actual age, we feel younger than we are, while other days, we feel older, much older?
So it is with our canine companions. What constitutes a senior in one breed may be an adult in another – with plenty of room for peppiness in both. Although most veterinarians agree that a dog is considered “senior” around the age of 7, what matters more is the size, not the number. Small dogs mature slower, tend to live longer than large dogs, and become seniors later in life. Dogs weighing less than 20 pounds may not show signs of aging until they’re around 12. Fifty-pound dogs won’t seem older until they’re around 10, while the largest dogs start “showing their age” at around 8.
But if wisdom comes with age, so do benefits. And in the case of those lovingly dubbed “gray muzzles”, the benefits of adopting a senior dog are many. Think puppy at heart without the puppy problems. Because in adopting a senior dog, you CAN judge a book by its cover. What you see is what you get: a mature animal whose physique and persona are fully formed — no baby teeth to gnaw on your furniture, no yappy energy to wear you out – allowing you to see, within moments, if yours is a mutual match or not. Although, as with everything else, there are always exceptions to the rule, opening your home to an older dog means opening your heart to an experience akin to instant gratification.
Calmer than their younger counterparts, older dogs are house trained and have long since mastered the basic commands of “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and “come.” And contrary to popular belief, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Dogs are trainable at any age, and older dogs are just as bright as younger ones, with a greater attention span, making them that much easier to train. Older dogs are loyal, loving and experienced companions, ready to walk politely on leash with you, run gaily off leash (with good recall) in the dog park, and play frisky games of fetch with your new tennis ball or their own, well-worn one.
Less demanding of your attention than younger dogs, they are content with their own company for longer periods, then will lavish you with all of their adoration and affection when it’s cuddling time. Due to their lower energy level, senior dogs are easier to care for and make superlative companions for senior people. They also make friendly and gentle playmates for children — particularly if they were once some other family’s cherished pet.
One common misconception about older, adoptable dogs is that they are “problem dogs”. And yet, most of them have lost their homes, not because of their behavior or temperament, but because of changes in the lives, lifestyle or circumstances of their original owners.
Sadly, for many senior dogs awaiting adoption, age IS seen as a number, even if that number is only 5, and even if that same dog has 10 years or more to live, to love and be loved. More difficult to adopt than younger dogs, and just as deserving of a permanent home, they are all too often overlooked and for all the wrong reasons.
Senior dogs seem to sense when they receive a second chance at the rest of their lives. And anyone wise enough to adopt one, will not only reap the benefits, but will be the lucky recipient of a love as unconditional as it is enduring.
The problem of dog overpopulation is a global one and requires a solution on a global scale. But like every journey that begins with a single step, this particular journey must begin with every dog owner in every town and every city in the country. Those conscientious owners who act responsibly by spaying and neutering their cherished family pets.
Spaying (removing the ovaries and uterus of a female dog) and neutering (removing the testicles of a male dog) are simple procedures, rarely requiring so much as an overnight stay in a veterinary clinic. Because half of all litters are unplanned, and because puppies can conceive puppies of their own, spaying and neutering them before the age of 6 months can help break this cycle.
According to SPAY USA, an unspayed female dog, her unneutered mate and their offspring (if none are spayed or neutered) result in the births of a staggering 12,288 puppies in just 5 years.
The inevitable outcome? Hundreds of thousands of dogs being euthanized through no fault of their own. Why? Because they are the tragic, but avoidable, result of over breeding and overpopulation. Why? Because there are too few shelters to house them and too few homes to either foster or adopt them. Why? Because there are still too many dog owners unwilling to spay and neuter their pets.
The positive effects of spaying and neutering far outweigh the negatives. Females spayed before their first heat are much less likely to develop mammary cancer than those left intact. Early spaying is also their best protection against conditions like pyometra, a potentially fatal bacterial infection of the uterus, as well as ovarian and uterine cancers. Early neutering of males protects them against testicular cancer, and helps curb both aggression and other undesirable behaviors. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions, 70 to 76 percent of reported dog bite incidents are caused by intact males.
For years, reputable rescue groups have been spaying and neutering the animals in their care before even putting them up for adoption. More recently, in an effort to address at least part of this ongoing problem, various organizations — large and small, urban and rural, public and private — have been springing up across the country. From the ASPCA to local humane societies, spay/neuter clinics are opening and operating. Mobile spay/neuter clinics are reaching out to those unable to reach them. Many rescue groups now offer their own Spay Neuter Incentive Programs (SNIP), which provide assistance to low income households.
Imagine if there were more regional, local and mobile spay/neuter clinics. More Spay Neuter Incentive Programs. Imagine entire communities across the country, where every pet owner took personal responsibility for spaying and neutering their pets. Imagine what we, as part of the global community, could accomplish then.
As unpleasant as the prospect may seem, planning for emergencies may mean the difference between life and death for the canine member(s) of your human family.
And while the ASPCA has designated September National Preparedness Month, all conscientious dog owners should ALWAYS be prepared. Simply put: if a situation is dire for you, it’s equally dire for your dog.
If you live in an area prone to such natural disasters as tornadoes, earthquakes or floods, plan accordingly. Determine in advance which rooms are “safe” rooms — easily cleaned areas like utility rooms, bathrooms and basements. Because access to fresh water is critical, fill bathtubs and sinks ahead of time in case of power outages or other crises. In the event of flooding, take shelter in the highest part of your home, preferably in a room with high counters or shelves for your dog to lie on.
When first alerted to the approach of severe weather — and the possibility of eventual evacuation — ensure that your car’s tank is full, all essential fluids are topped off, and a high power flashlight (with fresh batteries) is in the glove compartment. If you must evacuate, prepare for the worst-case scenario: think weeks, not days.
And being prepared includes a canine emergency evacuation kit equipped with a first aid kit; two weeks worth of dry dog food; bottles of water; food and water bowls; disposable cage liners and/or paper toweling; plastic poop bags; brush, hand sanitizer, liquid dish soap and disinfectant; treats, toys and chew toys, towels and blankets.
Of critical importance are photocopies and/or USB of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your dog requires (medications must be rotated out of the kit if close to their expiry dates); recent photos of your dog (should you be separated and have to print “Lost” posters); and an extra collar with updated ID tags, leash and harness, although microchipping your dog is the best precaution of all.
And, of course, a traveling crate or carrier (if more than one dog — ideally one for each) with complete contact information attached.
While ensuring your dog’s safety, ensure your safety and that of your family’s as well by putting your own emergency plan in place. Tailor your emergency “kit” to meet your own specific needs, but ensure that your car is equipped with: a first aid kit; several gallons of water; non perishable foods, protein bars, etc.; a cell phone with chargers; a battery operated radio; flashlights and batteries; a multi-purpose tool, duct tape, scissors and whistle; sanitation and personal hygiene items; hand sanitizers and baby wipes; protective clothing, footwear and emergency blankets; maps(s) of the area; extra money and medications; copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance
policies); extra house and car keys, and family and emergency contact information.
Forewarned, as they say, is forearmed. And planning ahead helps dog owners keep cool heads while keeping their dearest dogs safe at the same time.