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We Have A Special Kind of Dog

When I'm not spoiling my Pei Pals at home, I am usually in the company of some other dog breed. As a dog trainer it's an occupational hazard. And as owner of a petsitting business I also get the opportunity to work with just about everything under the sun. Today I had to exercise a tortoise. But that's not what this entry is about.

This entry is about what a neat and unique breed Shar Pei are.

For example, I have 5 Pei running my household right now. And unless they have a really good reason they don't bark. Not when I leave. Not when I get home. I have heard Bernie bark exactly once since he arrived in March. The first several months I had Mulan....dead silence. They are just quiet dogs. Other breeds (which shall remain nameless) tend to bark a LOT. Falling leaves, phantom mice, no seeums, changes in barometric pressure.....they bark. And bark.

Oh but I could go on and on and on about how cool Shar Pei are.

But I wouldn't want all the other breeds to feel inferior to our wrinkle pups now would I? *wink*

OK gratuitous Puppy Pic! Meet Super Max! One of our alumni!

Summer's Over Kids!

And just like that...everyone is back to school, work, whatever it is we all do when we aren't plotting our escape to Disneyland. I know school is back in session when every day at 3:15ish the dogs line up at the window to bark at the kids strolling by. Which means I have to Windex the glass daily. Dog slobber has an adherent quality like nothing else.

Which reminds me! There are 117 days left in the year 2006. If you are looking for a place to stash that cash and get a break from Uncle Sam....send it our way! Not only will you get a tax deduction, you'll get the warm fuzzies, too. For United Way just designate your donation to "Homeward Bound CSP, Inc."

C'mon...how can you resist?

Some Years It Just Doesn't Pay to Get Out of Bed

I'm telling you this has been a rough year. Adoptions are down. Donations are down. More dogs than ever are ending up in shelters or on the street. Meanwhile, dogs have never been more popular, or more of a "status symbol/accessory". But as with all fashion trends, consumers seem to think that they can just toss aside that precious pooch like last years Dooney & Burke bag.

Add to that the massive influx of homeless dogs from the hurricanes of a year ago and it all reaches a breaking point. When you take thousands of dogs that had families and homes and a good life and add them to the thousands already desperately in need of good homes and families and a decent life....Wow. The mind boggles.

Even sadder, the majority of those dogs were sick and injured from the storms, heartworm positive from living in mosquito country and emotionally damaged from the horrors they were put through. A number of trainers, including myself, were offered thousands of dollars to take in and rehabilitate Katrina dogs. As appalled as I was by the situation and as much as I wanted to help, I knew in my heart that I had to keep my focus on the dogs here. A Shar Pei thrown out of a pickup truck onto a busy highway in California is just as important as a dog left behind in a hurricane. Every life is precious and rare. No matter the circumstance.

There will be many more disasters. Natural and man-made. Every time an animal dies in a shelter, I consider a disaster. We should all consider it a disaster. But some disasters CAN be prevented.

So here is my offer to you. Before you give up on that precious and rare wrinkle baby that so captured your heart at one time, call me. If its a behavior thing, I can help. I have articles I can send you. I have advice I can give. And I have ears that listen and understand. I have been through just about every awful behavior a dog can throw at you. If I don't have the answer right away I will get it for you. My number is (209) 345-5967. I will even call you back if you can't afford the toll.

And please, love your pets as much as they love you.

What Is Heaven

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.

"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

"Excuse me!" he called to the man. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in."

"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.

"There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.

"This is Heaven," he answered.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."

Owner's Guide

Ever think to yourself, "Why doesn't this dog come with an Owner's Guide?" Usually this thought occurs around the same time you arrive home to find the couch in tatters.....

Well, the Shar Pei does!

Thanks to and courtesy of the Chinese Shar Pei Club of America, you can download a 16 page guide to being owned by a Shar Pei.
The link is http://www.cspca.com/OwnerGuide.pdf
And now for a gratuitous puppy pic....AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

Why Adopt From A Shelter or Rescue Group

This has been a bummer of a year for adoptions. I'm not sure why but adoptions have been way down compared to last year. To those of you who have adopted a homeless animal this year, an enormous THANKS! If you are considering adopting a homeless animal, let me give you a few more reasons to do so:

(courtesy No Voice Unheard)
1) Be a hero. Adoption saves an animal whose life literally depends on getting a new home.

2) Adopting a homeless animal is a generous act of compassion, and an expression of the inherent value of animals.

3) You will be assured that you are not contributing to the homeless animal tragedy by encouraging the breeding of even more animals into an already-overpopulated world.

4) There's a large selection of animals to choose from (and not just dogs and cats!)

5) Looking for a purebred? If the animal you want is not at your local shelter, there is a rescue group for virtually every type of purebred dog and cat.

6) Adoption counselors have great expertise about animals, know the specific animals in the shelter, and can help you make the perfect match.

7) Many shelter animals are already housebroken and trained, and have some understanding of what living with a family is like and how to fit in. They have a "head-start" on animals from pet stores or breeders.

8) Most shelters screen their animals for good health and temperament.

9) Save money. Adopting from a shelter is usually less expensive than buying from a store or a breeder. Shelter adoption packages build in the cost of spay/neuter, vaccinations, and microchip identification into their adoption fees.

10) It's the right and ethical thing to do! You will be helping, one animal at a time, to bring an end to this nation's tragic homeless animal problem.

Good Night Sweet Prince

It is with a heavy heart that I write this update. Today we had to say “good bye” to our sweet boy, Dino. Dino was about five years old and came to us in March of 2004. In September of last year he was diagnosed with cancer in one of his back legs. After much thought and discussion with our vet, we elected not to amputate his leg. Because of his stout build-we lovingly referred to him as the “ottoman”-we didn’t think he would be able to get up or down without the use of all four legs. Dino did really well until May when it was clear that he was becoming uncomfortable. We knew we were getting close to having to let him go, but Dino wasn’t ready to give up yet. In May we had the leg amputated, and Dino responded by getting up the next morning after this extensive surgery and pulling on a leash to go outside. He did so well until a couple of weeks ago when he lost his appetite and became very “tired”. We had xrays, bloodwork, and a sonogram done. It was determined that the cancer had spread, and there was no more we could do but keep Dino comfortable until it became clear to us that it was his “time”, and that time was today.

Dino came to us after his guardians left him with neighbors while they went on vacation. After about a year it became clear that they weren’t coming back for him, and the neighbors called us to take him. It is a decision that we will never regret. For the last two and a half years this rescue was home to Dino. He had a “corner condo” that he was fiercely protective of. Dino loved to tear apart stuffed animals, and his kennel was always full of fluff. He was a comedian and provided us with lots of smiles and laughs. Dino had such a grateful spirit-always accepting the hand life dealt him and making the most of it. Although Dino was never chosen by a family to go to a “forever home”, we were so fortunate to have been his guardians for the balance of his life. The decision today was very difficult, but also very necessary so that Dino would not suffer. No matter how much we gave him, he always gave us more back with no hesitation and unconditional love. His memory lives on in our hearts. His spirit lives on to remind us of why we continue to help the less fortunate of this breed.

Many of you know the story of the Rainbow Bridge, but there is a second part to that story, and it helps us to get through this day. Someday we will be allowed to help Dino one final time.

And so, dear Dino, you fought a brave fight, but in the end this horrible disease was more than your body could handle. You will always be our “big sweet boy”, and you may be gone but will never be forgotten by those lucky enough to have met you. We love you and miss you.

Rich and Anna

The Rainbow Bridge...The Rest of the Story

Unlike most days at the Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray.

All the recent arrivals at the Bridge did not know what to think, as they had never seen such a day. But the animals who had been waiting longer for their beloved people to accompany them across the Bridge knew what was happening, and they began to gather at the pathway leading to the Bridge.

Soon an elderly dog came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. He approached slowly, and though he showed no sign of injury or illness, he was in great emotional pain. Unlike the animals gathered along the pathway, he had not been restored to youth and vigor upon arriving at the Bridge. He felt out of place, and wanted only to cross over and find happiness.

But as he approached the Bridge, his way was barred by an angel, who apologized and explained that the tired and broken-spirited old dog could not cross over. Only those animals accompanied by their people were allowed to cross the Bridge. Having nobody, and with nowhere else to turn, the dog trudged into the field in front of the Bridge.

There he found others like himself, elderly or infirm, sad and discouraged. Unlike the other animals waiting to cross the Bridge, these animals were not running or playing. They simply were lying in the grass, staring forlornly at the pathway across the Rainbow Bridge. The old dog took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting, yet not knowing what he was actually waiting for.  One of the newer dogs at the Bridge asked a cat who had been there longer to explain what was happening. The cat replied, "Those poor animals were abandoned, turned away, or left at rescue places, but never found a home on earth.  They all passed on with only the love of a rescuer to comfort them.  Because they had no people to love them, they have nobody to escort them across the Rainbow Bridge."

The dog asked the cat, "So what will happen to those animals?"

Before the cat could answer, the clouds began to part and the cold turned to bright sunshine. The cat replied, "Watch, and you will see."

In the distance was a single person, and as she approached the Bridge the old, infirm and sad animals in the field were bathed in a golden light. They were all at once made young and healthy, and stood to see what their fate would be. The animals who had previously gathered at the pathway bowed their heads as the person approached.

At each bowed head, the person offered a scratch or hug. One by one, the now youthful and healthy animals from the field fell into line behind the person. Together, they walked across the Rainbow Bridge to a future of happiness and unquestioned love. The dog asked the cat, "What just happened?"

The cat responded, "That was a rescuer."

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California Chinese Shar Pei Rescue - P.O. Box 492404 - Redding, CA 96049-2404 | Contact us