Mother’s Day is a special time filled with family and gratitude. While many of us consider our dogs family– and I for one am eternally grateful to my dogs—do you ever ask yourself, what about their family? I am talking their canine family…I know you’re their family! What if they could reconnect with their biological brood? Would they recognize their mommy? Would they look like their brothers and sisters? Would they fight like sibling?
Courtesy of Wags & Walks a Los Angeles-based dog rescue group, these questions and so much more were answered this past Saturday for one very lucky litter that almost wasn’t.
Here is their story:
In March 2012, Wags and Walks founder Lesley Brog discovered Jasmine, an abandoned Blue Nose Pitbull that had been dumped at a Southern California shelter. Jasmine’s body bore the signs of neglect and of what appeared to be severe over-breeding.
Lesley Brog, Founder of Wags & Walks
“Even though her body was swollen and her coat dull, Jasmine radiated with love. “Her entire body wiggled with affection as she did her best to kiss me through the bars of the cold kennel.” said Lesley , “I had to get this one out.”
Lesley rescued Jasmine from the shelter and immediately brought her to the vet’s to be spayed where upon a closer look, Jasmine’s state was not just a sign of overbreeding but rather that Jasmine was pregnant and about to deliver at least 7 puppies!
Shocked, a little overwhelmed but mostly determined to help Jasmine – and now her babies, Lesley, with the aid of her husband Andrew, two daughters Macy (4) and Jesse (8) brought Jasmine’s family into the world with the love and care she deserved.
Jasmine and her pups 2012
Lesley had rescued over a hundred dogs at the point that Jasmine came into her life, but helping Jasmine to raise her pups, was a life-changing experience. She was deeply connected not only to Jazzy as she calls her, but also to her pups.
While difficult to let go, Lesley eventually found loving homes for each and every puppy. One even went to live with actress Sophia Bush! This was a lucky litter indeed.
Sophia Bush & Her Puppy!
But was that really going to be it? Wam, Bam Thank you Mam? Not a chance…
The special place that this litter had in her heart, inspired Lesley to pull together the first ever Rescued & Reunite Mother’s Day Reunion.
Hosted at the posh Citydog! Club Boarding and Daycare in West Los Angeles, Lesley created the ultimate Mother’s Day celebration for Jasmine and her 7 pups. And this was no small feat! Some of the dogs and their new human families came from as far away as 100 miles to do what we all do on Mother’s Day… eat, play and catch up with family.
Here is a very special video that truly captures the love and spirit of the day as well as of Wags and Walks.
I have to share about a new Doggie Daycare that just opened up in West LA called CITYDOG! Club.
Front Desk at CityDog! Club
I have to admit when I saw the signs going up I was like, are you serious? There are 4 daycares right nearby. Do we really need another… but then I went in to check it out and I have to admit… it’s kind of awesome.
It’s right behind Sports Club LA (now Equinox) and the place is amazing for the following reasons:
1 . CLEAN: It’s spotless and it smells good. While it’s new and of course it should smell good, they have invested in the latest technology including surfaces that repel bacteria to make sure it stays that way.
2. STAFF: CityDog! interviewed something like 1500 people to fill 10 spots. I was impressed with how the CPR certified staff interacted with the dogs (who are split into two Play Parks: one for big and one for little to keep everyone safe) as well as how they worked with the owners; happily fielding questions and giving tours. Transparency is a big thing at Citydog! Owners can watch their dogs virtually on webcams or up close and personal through big picture windows. Anywhere your dog might go, you can see.
Citydog! Club dog house
3. BENEVOLENT: CityDog! is committed to supporting rescue. In just the last week they have donated auction items for two fundraising events; one for the ASPCA and the other for Wags and Walks…plus CityDog! give a percentage of proceeds to animal charities.
4. PARKING: This may sound sort of silly but CityDog! has its own parking lot. For a busy dog mom or dad this is somewhat essential because there is truly nothing more annoying that dealing with LA parking when dropping off your dog!
So check out CityDog! and tell them Betsy sent you!
This Versace… He was recently saved by S.T.A.R.T. from a horrible high kill shelter and brought up to a beautiful rescue organziation in Oregon where where he is spoiled, loved and above all respected.
Versace is a special boy and we are sure his forever home is coming soon. Please help me help more dogs like Versace by clicking below and donation to S.T.A.R.T.!
I hope all is well with you. Niko & I are having a good summer, but recently we learned of a situation that as dog lovers, we find very unacceptable and we intend to do something about it. I know you love dogs too, so I hope you will consider joining us in our effort to help save more than 200 dogs this summer.
S.T.A.R.T. is a 501c3 charity that goes into Southern California’s highest kill shelters and pulls out 60, 80 even sometimes close to 100 animals at a time and transports them in a large, converted RV to pre-approved, no-kill shelters and rescue groups in the Pacific Northwest.
Here is a video about the group.
S.T.A.R.T. is doing wonderful work but they have hit an obstacle that unless solved will severely limit the number of dogs they can save this Summer/ Fall.
The truck that S.T.A.R.T. uses does not have sufficient air conditioning to cool a full transport of dogs during the searing summer heat. This leaves S.T.A.R.T. to either send half empty trucks or to rent smaller vans–both options waste precious resources and mean fewer dogs are saved.
I would like to try and help them raise the money to install an air-conditioning unit which would be roughly $5,000.00.
This is a large sum of money but when you consider how many dogs can be saved, the return on investment is enormous; for most rescue groups the average cost of rescuing a dog is between $300 and $600 dollars (I have rescued dogs that have cost me into the thousands). When operating at full capacity, S.T.A.R.T. cost per rescued dog is just $36.00!
Please help me raise the $5,000 needed to install the AC and together we can save hundreds of dog this summer!
To donate using Paypal please click below:
Or… checks can be made to S.T.A.R.T. I am happy to come pick up a check if you are here in L.A. or they can be mailed directly to S.T.A.R.T. with the words “Air Con” in the memo.
PO Box 4792
Please contact me with any questions or if you want to come with me to see off a transport in person.
In rescue there is a saying…
Saving one dog may not change the world, but surely the world will change for that one dog.
Through this donation we have the chance to change the world for hundreds of dogs.
If this video doesn’t make you smile… there is something wrong with you!
They guy who made this video did so in honor of the Rescue that got him hooked on the Boston Terrier breed. Please check them out at Adoptaboston.com and other local rescues, there are a lot of sweet Bosties out there that need homes.
We deliver over 4700 meals to those in need who live in the Los Angeles area regardless of age, illness, disability, race, religion or ability to pay. Many of our clients have pets and we have come to find that 80% of seniors who own pets share their meals with them, often feeding their pets before themselves.
Tonight St. Vincent Meals on Wheels is partnering with Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills, and Miss Lilly’s Trading Company- a dessert company that donates a portion of proceeds from cookie sales to provide seniors in need with food for their pets.
Saks will donate a percentage of all sales between 6 pm and 8pm tonight to St. Vincent Meals on Wheels! Moreover Miss Lilly’s Trading Company Cookies– which are being sold through the holidays at Saks– will be offering special cookie gift tins as well as their exclusive polo and tennis shirts.
Please come join me at Saks tonight. Ranger and will there and at least one of us will be live blogging! Your support would mean a lot.
This could be the perfect excuse to buy that new pair of Louboutins you had your eye on! Come on… it’s for charity!
With a Labrador in your house, you have to be beyond careful about leaving any food around…anywhere.
While we try–counters are kept clear, garbage cans have air-tight lids, and food is never left lying around–our Lab Ranger has the uncanny ability to swoop at the precise moments when we have let down our guard.
In the almost-three years that we’ve had him, here are a few of the highlights of Rangers “hunting” spoils:
4 lbs of Hershey Chocolate Chips- found in a visiting relative’s suitcase.
A pack of Sugar Free Gum- found in the couch cushions.
1 Bag of Ricola Cough Drops- swiped from the back of my desk.
A WHOLE Gym Sock- who knew he’d eat a whole sock!
I’m sure Ranger has eaten countless other things that I am either blocking out or unaware of and yet he is still alive. The only items that required stomach pumping were the Sugar Free Gum–Xylitol, the key ingredient in sugar-free gum is highly toxic– and the Large Gym Sock which had the potential to bind up his intestines…yum.
You’re probably thinking what about the the chocolate; isn’t that extremely toxic? Yes you’re right, chocolate is highly poisonous to dogs, but thankfully the chips were of the milk chocolate variety and moreover most Hershey Chocolate Chips are relatively low in actual chocolate content. Had the chips been something gourmet or of a higher cocoa content, we’d have been in trouble.
The vet advised us to watch for any lethargy or shaking. He showed neither and in fact was scheming for more food. So while not a pretty site (read heaps of chocolate poop and vomit) Ranger survived without a trip to a vet. NOTE: if your dog eats chocolate do not take my word on this one…CONTACT YOUR VET ASAP because every situation is different.
Stomach pumping or not it’s always scary when your dog eats something foreign. So how do you know if what you’re dog has eaten is dangerous??
2. Contact the Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680. There is a 35 dollar charge per call–there isn’t any public funding for something like this–but that a small price to pay for your dog’s safety and your piece of mind.
I could not be any more proud of my friend and rescue buddy Lesley Brog.
Lesley & a newly saved puppy
In just the last few months she has gone from being a dedicated, but casual dog rescuer to having her own fully functioning rescue, Wags and Walks.
To date, Wags and Wags has rescued 32 dogs that would have otherwise certainly been left behind and most likely put down. And for those of you who have admired HOOCH, the mastiff I helped to rescue earlier this year… that was a Lesley dog. (On a side note HOOCH now not only has a new daddy who loves him to pieces, but HOOCH also has his own website…GET SOME HOOCH…more on that later)
While I would be proud of Lesley for these feats alone, I am even more impressed that Wags and Walks Dog Rescue was chosen this week by Dog Time Media to be the recipient of a $10,000 donation aimed at allowing Lesley to continue her mission of saving and promoting Los Angeles’ shelter dogs and preventing of cruelty to animals through education, awareness, and advocacy programs.
On Tuesday, Lesley, flanked by her daughters Macy (3) and Jesse (7), was presented with the check at LA County’s Baldwin Park shelter.
Wags and Walks Wins 10,000!
All rescuers are amazing, but what I love about what Lesley is doing, besides that she picks dogs that really otherwise wouldn’t get out—she’s got a soft spot for the pitties—is that she has incorporated her kids into her rescue work. Lesley’s girls are hands on in the process and help her through the often-arduous procedures involved in getting a dog out of harm’s way.
Izzy & Macy
Together the Brog girls work to help as many of LA’s unwanted dogs as possible by visiting shelters, taking pictures of the dogs (often with her girls to show that just because they’re pits doesn’t mean they are bad dogs), getting to know the dogs temperament, working with shelter staff, partnering with other rescue groups, networking the dogs that are the most in danger and putting plans in place to avoid dogs being put to sleep.
“We don’t just talk the talk” says Lesley. “I am a take action kind of girl! And I am also proud to teach my little girls empathy, compassion and kindness to animals first hand. This is what every mother wants to teach her children.”
It’s no wonder that so many of my early posts were about her battle and my loss. As a result of putting my experiences with Bella out there, I have been lucky enough to connect with other dog owners struggling with the loss or pending loss of a best friend. And while lucky sounds like an odd word to associate with that statement, I do feel lucky because people have shared with me the most wonderful stories of the love that they have for their dogs.
There is of course profound sadness that comes with the territory; I have often found myself sobbing about dogs I have never even laid eyes on but it’s worth it to be able to connect to the pure love we humans can share with a dog. It’s a beautiful if not painful thing, and apparently we are not alone in our ability to connect to man (and woman’s) best friend…
So while I can’t pretend to know what an elephant thinks or feels on most days, I think I can imagine what Tarra, an elephant living at in a Tennessee sanctuary, is feeling today.
You may remember Tarra from the news a while back. She is the rescue elephant who befriend a stray dog almost a decade ago. The two were inseparable and were such an incredible story that CBS news profiled them in 2009.
Unfortunately their story took a sad turn this week…
For nearly a decade, Tarra had been best friends with a dog named Bella, a mutt who wandered onto the sanctuary grounds and into the heart of the gentle giant. Tarra clearly loved her little dog and Bella obviously bonded right back.
They were so close, in fact, that when Bella got injured a few years ago and had to spend three weeks recuperating in the sanctuary office, guess who held vigil the entire time? Twenty-two hundred acres to roam free, and Tarra just stood in the corner waiting. Home video of their reunion shows how inseparable they’d become and remained, right to the end.
Last week, sanctuary workers found Bella’s body. By all indications she’d been attacked by coyotes. Whether Tarra witnessed it, tried to intervene or was too late – no one knows. All they do know is that where they found Bella is not where she was attacked.
“When I looked around and saw there was no signs of an attack here. No blood, no tuffs of hair, nothing,” said director of elephant husbandry, Steve Smith. “And Tarra, on the underside of her trunk, had blood – as if she picked up the body.
Tarra moved her?
“Tarra moved her,” Smith said.
Steve’s theory is Tarra carried Bella possibly a mile or more to bring her home.
Whether it really happened that way or not, no one doubts Tarra was that devoted.
“There’s nothing we can do to take away her pain,” said Atkinson. “The only ones who can help now are the elephants. And that is already happening.”
Atkinson said the elephants are “stepping in and stepping up.” He said they’re spending more time with Tarra and being extra nice – making gestures like giving her a portion of their food.
Of course, anyone who’s lost a dog knows you can’t eat your way out of the grief – as much we might try — but still nice to know at least Tarra’s not alone in this.
It’s also nice to see that compassion is much more than just human.