Happy Days Ahead For Sunny!

Oh my gosh. Has it really be three months?! I’m so embarrassed. Time flies, doesn’t it?

But we’re here and now (as we always are) and there is no better time or place to slip right back and pretend as though I wasn’t MIA for far too long.

So, there is a little bit of catch up – some of which I’ve honestly forgotten. Most importantly, Sunny found a home! A wonderful home!!

Sunny with his new adoptive momma.Sunny is in Gainesville now, which I’m sure is quite a shock to his little Tallahassee self, but I don’t think he’s too out of place. 😉 His new mom has a huge yard for him, bought him toys he can have all to himself, and of course has already found him a pack of doggie friends. Not to mention, I can’t say how thrilled I am to have already received some pictures and updates!

Sunny with his foster mom (me, left) and his adoptive mom (right)I will miss his goofy antics and his super sweet personality, but I am happy to know he is going to someone who will also appreciate all of the little things about him. The following are all pictures his mom sent to me of him in his new home. Look how spoiled he is! I couldn’t be happier for him. He finally got the life he deserved, and it makes my heart swell.

Sunny's ride home

He was excited for his new life as early as the car ride to his new home! Smart boy!

Sunny in his forever home Sunny in his forever home Sunny in his forever homeTo all who had been following Sunny’s story, thank you. He is truly a lucky boy to get such a great second shot at life. His is the story we hope all rescue dogs will get to tell. There are a million great animals out there in need of forever families. Please remember: adopt, foster, volunteer, donate, or share to help every one get the happy ending they deserve.

-Kayla and Lana

Sunny’s Guest Appearance With TPA

Last weekend a local rescue called Tallahassee Pets Alive hosted an adoption event and allowed my Sunny to be their guest of honor. (Not exactly how they worded it, but I thought his title needed a little more drama.)

Tallahassee Pets Alive Adoption Event FlyerHe sat patiently in a pen for 5 hours while I awkwardly hovered like the helicopter mom I may or may not be. Okay, definitely am. He was a true gentleman, never barking, and never denying a passerby attention. Kids pet him the wrong way and he didn’t flinch. Other dogs barked and he did not respond. He ‘smiled’ for photos and gently took treats from any hand that offered. And because I brought a baggie full of cookies, there were lots of treats.

20141206_1118082While I’ll admit I was tempted to leave his side long enough to grab a cheeseburger from across the street (Burger-Fi, yum!), I’m glad I stayed because this confident side of him is something I rarely see. When Miss Lana is around her reactivity is often reflected in his actions. I’m relieved to know without her, he is fully functional. No offense to my kid.

Sunny at the adoption eventSunny shone like the star he is and I am both pleased and sad to say he has two adoption applications! I am forever grateful to Tallahassee Pets Alive for giving me to opportunity to show off my bae, and super nervous about saying goodbye. Don’t get me wrong, I have met one of the potential adopters twice, and I love the idea of her taking him home. From what I can tell, several aspects of her lifestyle are similar to mine, which makes me hope that the transition wouldn’t be too difficult for Sunny.

Sunny was chill at the eventI know he is ready to go to a real home. He has come a long way and no longer needs me to coddle him. Sunny did a great job at his first (and hopefully last) adoption event. No worries – I’ll keep you all posted with any updates!

“So, What Are Ya In For?”

Why do dogs and cats commonly end up in shelters? Are they ‘damaged goods’? Have they all been abused? Here are the top 10 reasons animals are surrendered as well as resources and practical advice for people who feel as though they need to re-home their animals. Please consider sharing it if you or someone you know is in this unfortunate position.

There is a common belief that animals in shelters are there because they were bad. Or perhaps because the previous owner saw signs of an expensive illness in the near future and dumped them so someone else could pay for them.

"So, What Are Ya In For?"  How animals really wind up in shelters and practical advice for the owner who feels like they have no other option than to give up their pet.I understand the thought process, I really do. I mean, why else would someone give up their companions? As it turns out, there are many reasons higher on the list than poor behavior or medical issues. A study by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy evaluated the top reasons dogs and cats are surrendered to shelters. They found that the top 7 reasons for dog and cat relinquishment were the same. Continue reading

Lana’s Big Day

Today is the third anniversary of Lana’s Adoption Day! The time has flown by since we first got her from Florida All Retriever Rescue. So what better way to celebrate than with food, gifts, and of course plenty of pictures?

Lana celebrates her Adoption Day Anniversary | DreamBigBarkLoudly.comI’ll admit, the pictures might have turned out a tad bit better if the sun had chosen to come our and celebrate with us, but nothing to be done about that!

Lana celebrates her Adoption Day Anniversary | DreamBigBarkLoudly.comSince we count her adoption day as her birthday (because we have no idea what her birthday actually was), I guess that means Lana’s 21 in human years?

Lana celebrates her Adoption Day Anniversary | DreamBigBarkLoudly.com

Lana celebrates her Adoption Day Anniversary | DreamBigBarkLoudly.comDesi looked like she wanted some attention too (so of course she got some). She’s a good sport. And, I suppose, how could she know it wasn’t her day? We always try to celebrate with both dogs equally.

Lana celebrates her Adoption Day Anniversary | DreamBigBarkLoudly.comShe enjoyed the balloons a lot more than I expected her to. Almost as much as I enjoyed wandering around Party City acting like I was throwing a little girl’s birthday party. I was just praying nobody actually asked about my ‘daughter’.

Lana celebrates her Adoption Day Anniversary | DreamBigBarkLoudly.comNo worries, I stopped her before the balloon popped. I’d hate to give the old girl a heart attack.Though I probably didn’t do her much of a favor by giving her a delicious (but not super healthful) Pupcake.

Lana celebrates her Adoption Day Anniversary | DreamBigBarkLoudly.comThis recipe, adapted from a Pretty Little Pastimes recipe for peanut butter carrot Pupcakes, turned out fantastic! And by “adapted”, I mean I didn’t have one of the ingredients so I did change the recipe a little, but this time I’m happy with the changes I made. I did a taste test, intended to be a small bite, and ended up eating a quarter of one! It’s no wonder the dogs loved it too.

Lana celebrates her Adoption Day Anniversary | DreamBigBarkLoudly.comI’ll post my variation of the recipe later this week. Of course, in the mean time you can always go check out the original on Pretty Little Pastimes. And, if you still need something to do, you can check out our “Dog Stuff” Pinterest board where we have this recipe and others Pinned!

ImageLana got a couple of toys for her birthday, but we’re waiting until my parents get home from work to ‘open gifts’ (which aren’t really wrapped because I am no good at wrapping).

Happy Hump Day readers, and Happy Adoption Day to Miss Lana! I’ve loved the last three years with her and I know we’ll enjoy the next years just as much.

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Reputable Breeders: My Perspective

A friend and fellow rescue advocate just shared on her blog her recent experience with a reader wanting to buy a pit bull from a breeder.

She explained that as a rescue advocate, she is not likely to start researching breeders on behalf of anyone, not while there is still an overpopulation problem. She finished her article (complete with cute pictures of puppies!) by asking readers what they would have told the person if they had been asked. “How do you deal with people that don’t believe in adopting?”

First of all, I’d like to give a little background information about myself. I am 21 years old. Many members of my generation are subject to the belief that our entire lives should be publicized on the internet, because for some reason we’re positive everyone cares about our opinions. To an extent, I am guilty of this. I have gotten into my fair share of internet rumbles, most recently in an attempt to convince a man to neuter his dog (as well as give him heart worm preventative).


I imagine a few of you will recognize Levi and may even remember that fight from a dog rescue page on Facebook.

Despite my best efforts, the battle was lost. I started out polite and informative, explaining why I was qualified to speak. I ended up defending myself from an onslaught of negativity and throwing a fair amount back at him. I realized nothing good would come of our fight and I was angry, both at him and at myself because I felt like I failed. I was proud he branded me a bitch, because I took solace in the fact that, while I couldn’t change his mind, I know I hurt his fragile ego. It was all I had.

But I didn’t fail. Okay, yes I did, but I don’t think anyone could have convinced him. You just can’t change everyone’s mind. I will rescue my dogs and will try to convince everyone I can to do the same, but if someone is adamant that they will not rescue, I think it’s our duty as animal welfare activists to at least point them to a reputable breeder (it’s not our job to actually do the research for them, just emphasize they should not go to a pet store). Responsible breeders DO exist, they’re just a bit harder to find than pet stores and puppy mills.

Breeders who breed quality over quantity, those who specialize in one type of dog and know everything there is to know about them. Those people on Craigslist who breed a million breeds of dogs (by the time they start breeding the ‘designer mutts’, at least) are NOT the breeders I’m calling responsible. The breeders I’m calling responsible keep tabs on their dogs for the rest of their lives and would rather take them back in the future than have them sent to the pound if an owner changes their mind. Maybe they require their puppies be spayed and neutered before they go to their new homes (I believe EVERY breeder should do this).

Purebred Lab puppies

These purebred Lab puppies were pulled by the rescue from which I got Lana from a shelter. All the lucky adopters saved lives and money when they went with a rescue!

I am of the opinion dogs like Labrador Retrievers and Pit Bulls should pretty much never be purchased from a breeder. These are among the most over-bred and thus most often euthanized dogs. I am much more likely to judge you for buying a Greyhound (I live near several racing tracks, though they may be less common in other areas) or a Lab than an uncommon breed such as a German Spitz. I also understand people who go to breeders for working dogs. Narcotics dogs, search and rescue dogs, police dogs, companion dogs of handicapped handlers. More than likely, you could find a dog in a shelter that would be good at those jobs, but I certainly understand the ‘just to be safe’ appeal of a breeder in those cases.

Like Morgan said, as an animal rescue advocate, I obviously prefer adoption, but you just can’t convince everyone. I think it is so much better to go to a responsible, reputable breeder than a puppy mill or pet store. The dogs in their care are much better taken care of. You might not be helping the overpopulation problem, but at least you’re still faithful to the animal welfare cause.

Anything but puppy mills.

Such a little victory may not seem like much, but it is still a baby step in the right direction.