Brandy Alexandra Bennett
Brandy and Otie lounging in CT
Brandy, Phoebe, Otie, Raissa and Garrett
Molly Dooker Bennett
Molly Dooker Bennett and CeeCee Genecco-Rainbolt
Rescue pals from Shih Tzu Fur Baby Rescue
And did you know that most dogs in shelters are purebreds? Dad likes to tease me and say that new, I would have cost them $1500 or more, but that used, I was free! They also say I am a priceless Princess.
There is usually nothing wrong with the dogs that end up at shelters. Usually it’s a problem on the human end: a new baby, not enough research before getting a dog, a major life change, etc. In my case, I was well loved by my original family, but they had to enter housing that didn’t allow me to go with them. I ended up in a kill shelter in CT! I was terrified there, but luckily, a kind Veterinarian Technician who did small dog rescue, brought me home and posted me on the American TFT rescue site. (www.atftc.com/rescue) Because I was 7 years old at the time, I was considered a tough placement. What craziness, Mom and Dad say! Middle age and senior dogs are usually well trained, calmer and anxious to relocate to a loving home.
Mom and Dad said that the day I came to live with them, we became a family. They couldn’t believe that not only did I have no “issues”, but that I came complete with circus tricks! We 3 were so happy as a family, that we wanted to help other pups and began to work with other small dogs that needed fostering along the way to their new homes. In fact, Mom became a dog trainer, so that she could help rescue and shelter dogs become more adoptable – she used to be the Tri-State rescue co-coordinator for ATFTC and still volunteers with both the ASPCA (www.aspca.org) and the Humane Society (www.HSUS.org).
On these pages, you’ll meet some of the friends I’ve helped Mom and Dad to train and socialize. I gotta tell you, I like having most of them here for awhile, and I know how important my job is, but I usually like having Mom and Dad back to myself once they find new homes. HOWEVER – I have recently made an exception and agreed to have a new little brother, Otie. He’s 2 years & 9 months old and a real cute tri-colored chihuahua. So now we are a family of four! You’ll get to read all about Otie’s journey on the following pages, and I’ll share with you some of the adventures I’ve had since I came to live with Mom and Dad. They are all the more amazing when you consider I could’ve been on death row (shudder)!
Update – January 31st, 2015
3 years ago today, our sweet Brandy made her transition to the Rainbow Bridge. She was 17.5 and lived a full and happy life, and started us on our “rescue journey”. Please consider adopting an “older” dog. Brandy was 7 when she came to us and we had the honor of her presence for over 10 years. There are no guarentees in how long you will have someone’s physical presence when you choose to love, but choosing to love is always right. The pain will always be there when their body leaves, whether it’s 1 year or 20, so please, opt to adopt and consider a senior! Thank you Brandy, for teaching us so much, and for helping us to foster so many other dogs, for teaching them how to be good canine citizens, so they could find their “forever” families.
We’ve been involved with Shih Tzu Fur Baby Rescue for a little over 3 years, and active in dog rescue since 2001 when we adopted our first fur daughter, Brandy Alexandra Bennett, from Toy Fox Terrier Rescue. Yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of her transition, so I write this in her honor. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her and bless her, because she is the one who got us on this band wagon. She was 7 when we adopted her and ever since, I’ve had a particular passion for helping to adopt out “senior” dogs or middle aged ones. All of mine are.
We’d had Brandy 1 month when we were approached to help temporarily foster a 15 year old long haired chihuahua named Goldie. It’s a long story that I’ll save for a later blog. But suffice it to say, Goldie stayed with us and had the happiest last 11 months of her life and SHE’S the one who got me into Animal Communication and for that, I had to learn to meditate. All the gifts our babies give us, right? We then fostered for the ASPCA of NYC for a bit and I volunteered there as an adoptions councillor, assistant to the behaviorist in dog training and I started initially volunteering there by walking the dogs.
We lived in Birmingham, AL for a year while my husband was doing a fellowship, and while there, we fostered for the Humane Society and I learned to be a dog trainer and worked at the Birmingham Dog Training Center teaching puppy classes, but the focus of our fostering, was working with dogs with behavioral “issues”, though I’m by no means an expert – somehow, it comes somewhat naturally along with lots of reading and hands on. We fostered a chihuahua for 4 months who was a bit of a “devil dog” when we got him. The humane society will foster your dog for you for a bit if you have and emergency. Otie’s human Mom had to have brain surgery, so we had him for that time. 1.5 years after he went back to her, the Humane Society called us to take him again – for good – we were back in NYC, but happened to be going down for a visit, so we said we’d take him back and then get him ready for adoption, because at 15, Brandy had told us she was done with helping to foster new dogs. However, we got Otie home to NYC and within a day, Brandy told us to keep him. Again, I’ll write more about that on another blog.
As Brandy neared 17, we knew she was getting ready to leave us, but she didn’t want to go until Otie had another buddy. That’s when I started searching Petfinder for a “10 lb or under Toy Fox Terrier or any mix or breed, not fluffy) and up popped a picture of “Princess” from STFBR. She was exactly what we were looking for – 5 “ish”, being fostered in Brooklyn and she looked EXACTLY like Brandy (see below). That was just the icing on the cake. We filled out foster paperwork, because we had to be sure she and Otie would play together – no problem. We adopted her officially a month later and she chose the name Phoebe, in honor of her foster mother, Phoebe Kincaid!
Brandy transitioned 3 months later, and we were all very sad, but Phoebe helped Otie through it and they became the best of friends. Phoebe took over his barking at everything near the door duties, and began to vocalize with me when I sing high. (There’s a youtube video of it on my channel, called “Phoebe sings”).
We started helping STFBR with transports and then I called Meredith about a year later and told her we were ready to foster again – our timing was perfect, because she had a transport coming up and what did I think about fostering a 9 to 11 year old female Havanese? Well! Otie’s favorite breed and his first girlfriend in NYC was a Havanese, so we said yes! We had her a week later and she is our official first foster failure – Miss Molly had been a Bennett dog for 1.5 years now and she and Otie are inseparable and the 3 of them together are a blast, but a handful – literally. So now we have 7 year old Phoebe, 11.5 year old’s Otie and the fluffy one, after all, Molly.
Three months after getting Molly, I drove Terese Genecco and Shaynee Rainbolt out to Brooklyn to pick up CeeCee for them to foster temporarily in an emergency. She is now my favorite fluffy niece and official furbaby of the ladies – CeeCee gets to visit with the Bennett pack often, and they have a blast.
So that’s our story – having 3 makes it harder to foster in NYC, but I do home visits, transports, process apps write my blog on dog rescue, work on fundraising and we can do short term emergency fosters.
If you want to get involved, check out Shih Tzu Fur Baby Rescue.
Those of us active in animal rescue often hear complaints regarding how long it takes for the adoption process. There are many good reasons for this: 1 – Rescue organizations are staffed completely by volunteers, or larger institutions like the Humane Society and ASPCA are minimally staffed by paid workers who depend on a large number of volunteers to work with them. 2 – We want to be sure that the animal is a good fit for your home and vice versa – it’s very difficult on the humans and animals when there needs to be yet another “re-homing”/ 3 – We need to insure the safety of the animal and provide it with basic training. 4 – We need to be able to provide as much information about the animal to the future home, so that everyone is prepared.
It’s easy to go into any pet store, plop down your money and walk out with a pet. They don’t require you to prove you will give the animal a good home – they just want your money. And most reliable REAL breeders, will never sell their animals to a pet store, so if you go into one, 99.9% of the time, you are buying a dog (most often) from a “Puppy Mill” – an inhuman way to breed dogs just for profit. They are often stacked one atop the other in wire cages, especially the breeder dogs. They often never get their paws on the soft earth. Aside from the cruelty aspect of this, you are very likely to get a dog with a lot of health issues. Sometimes you get lucky, often you don’t and the dog never does.
This also means that the thousand and thousands of “used” and unwanted dogs, get killed, simply because there are TOO MANY of them!
So please, opt to adopt – be patient, do your research to find out the best breed or mixed breed for your family, learn how to take care of your puppy, dog, cat or whatever, BEFORE you get it. They rarely come to you (especially as babies) trained – you need to teach them.
And VOLUNTEER – become a part of the solution to aid in the quicker adoption of all animals, educate yourself about why the worst thing you can do is buy a dog from a pet store – we need to put puppy mills out of business.
Go to my links page to find several animal rescue organizations.