Jasper’s Hair Club

I want to fix broken things, well, broken dogs. I’m not terribly handy, but when it comes to dogs, I want to help the ones that seem to need it the most. I love to help dogs like Jasper. Jasper entered an overcrowded, rural animal shelter a perfect mess. He was matted with feces, had severe skin issues, appeared to have rickets, was malnourished, and he was hunched over, almost unable to stand upright. His legs and feet appeared deformed. The wonderful women at the Ouachita Parish Animal Shelter in Louisiana shelter took Jasper home and they got him to a vet the next day.

Look at him. I fell in love.

He lost a lot of that cute fluff before he got healthy.

Jasper had Demodex mange (or demodectic mange, aka puppy mange, aka red mange). Mange is a skin disease in mammals caused by parasitic mites. Mange is a word that makes most people shudder. Mites crawling all over your pet is pretty gross. These mites are present in very small amounts on the hair follicles of almost all dogs. In young puppies, mites spread from contact with mom. Don’t worry, these mites are host adapted, they are not transmitted or shared through various animal types or people. It is not contagious to other dogs or to people.

Mange typically causes hair loss and the formation of scabs and lesions. The two most common types of mite that affect dogs are Demodex and Sarcoptes.

Demodex is most common in puppies, senior dogs, or immune compromised dogs. Puppies do not have fully developed immune systems and they are unable to keep the demodectic mites in check.  Any time the immune system is compromised, the mites can get the upper hand.

Early signs of Demodex appear around the eyes, mouth and forepaws and can include redness, scaling, and patchy hair loss. In severe cases it can result in major hair loss. Demodex is easily diagnosed with a skin scrape test. The vet takes a scalpel blade, scrapes the skin down to a specific layer, then mixes the contents with oil and examines it under the microscope.

Sarcoptic mange, also knows as scabies, a word that makes my skin crawl, is very different from Demodex.  It is VERY itchy, and it IS contagious to other animals and to people. Sarcoptes mites are difficult to detect on a skin scrape test.  If your dog is intensely itchy all of the sudden, contact your veterinarian immediately. (I’m so thankful that we have not seen Sarcoptic mange in any of our rescues!)

I am grateful that Take Paws Rescue lets me pull the tough cases from the shelter. They take more time and resources, but they deserve happily ever after! Helping Jasper heal has been a joy.

Jasper’s Demodex has been treated with oral medications and many, many medicated baths. The poor boy was uncomfortable and itchy. He would wake us up in the night with his scratching. He was always the 1st dog awake, which causes a chain reaction. It was sort of like having a newborn. We certainly got less sleep.

We kept him in pajamas, socks, and a cone to keep him from hurting himself while scratching and biting at his skin. It was cute, and practical. He handled it like a boss.

Demodex itself is not generally itchy, unless it is severe and the skin is infected. Dogs with Demodex also develop secondary bacterial infections. Jasper did. We treated him with low dose prednisone and antibiotics and even more medicated baths.

For 6 weeks, Jasper has had baths at least 2 times a week with medicated shampoo and about 10 minutes of massage before rinsing. He has been very calm and patient. I think it felt good for him. After the bath, I used a lice comb to removed all of the dead mites, mite waste, and dead skin. That took 20-30 minutes. He was relatively patient for that part too. It just takes time to heal from this. Jasper has been great.

Jasper also had lime-sulpher dips weekly for a month. Lime-super dip is a sulfurated lime solution which kills mites and other parasites (most commonly ringworm, mange, and lice) and also works against fungi and bacteria. It turns the dog yellow and smells like rotten eggs,  but it is easy to use, extremely effective and its affordable. The yellow (and the smell) gradually fade as it dries.

See? Pretty!

This was the worst of it. Yep, it got worse, before he got better.

Boosting the immune system is the first step to avoid and fight demodex. An easy way to lift the immune function is to make sure your dog gets a very healthy diet with plenty of meat protein, Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, while also limiting grains and carbs. Jasper was on a special diet that included eggs, ground beef, cream cheese, flax seeds, peanut butter, salmon, plain yogurt, extra probiotics and anchovy oil.  He also got massages with almond oil and neem oil at bedtime (so the other dogs wouldn’t lick it all off of him). He smelled like Italian salad dressing. Neem oil is a naturally occurring pesticide found in seeds from the neem tree. It is a potent antifungal, antipyretic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It can be used in small amounts mixed with a carrier oil like coconut or almond oil.

Jasper has thrived on his special diet and is now looking healthy and eating plain, high quality kibble, with only small additions of fish, fish oil, or yogurt, which I add to all of the dogs’ meals occasionally. His hair has grown back nicely and he is looking soooo much better! He feet are slightly deformed, probably a congenital condition made worse by his extremely poor condition and malnutrition. We call him muppet. He gets around just fine and those feet do not cause him any problems at all. In fact, I do not even notice it anymore.

Jasper loves his foster dog family and is great with children. We are so excited that he is ready to find a forever home of his own!!

Look how handsome he is! Those eyes are just incredible.

Jasper is available for adoption from Take Paws Rescue


Tax season is going to be ruff…but fostering a pet is tax deductible!

I can deduct that?? Woof! Fostering a pet is tax deductible! …just in case knowing you are saving little furry lives isn’t enough.

If you were a rescue foster family this year, be sure to write off your foster dog or cat expenses. The expenses have to be directly related and solely attributable to the rendition of services to a qualified 501(c)(3) organization. You can deduct unreimbursed out-of-pocket spending on things like:

  • food
  • medicine
  • veterinary bills
  • crates
  • leashes, collars, tags, and harnesses
  • gas for mileage driven (for charitable purposes, you can deduct 14 cents per mile)
  • a portion of your utilities (as long as a a specific area of your home is only used for the care of the animals and nothing else)
  • cleaning supplies, even the paper towels you use to clean up after your foster while house training (we buy them along with Lysol Wipes by the case around here….) are deductible.

*While you CAN deduct expenses you incur while volunteering, you CANNOT deduct the time you spend volunteering. Trust me, the experience is reward enough.

So, if you foster a cat or dog for an animal-related 501(c)(3) organization, document all of your expenses. If audited, you will need to provide a list of itemized receipts. Save any and all receipts, and, if your unreimbursed expenses add up to over $250 for the year, obtain written acknowledgement from the charitable organization that confirms your volunteer or foster status. The written acknowledgement must contain a description of the services provided, a statement of whether or not the organization provided any goods or services as reimbursement, a description and good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services provided as reimbursement and a statement that the only benefit you received was an intangible one (if no reimbursement was made). This must be obtained on or before the date you file your tax return for the year that you made the expenditure or the due date for filing your tax return for that year.

If you are not yet fostering…this is just one more reason to save some furry little lives in 2018. Check out the animal rescue groups in your local area. There are both breed specific and general rescues. Love Labs? Check out Nola Lab Rescue.

This is the amazing group that I currently foster with  – we always need more fosters!  http://www.takepawsrescue.org/foster-form

Fostering is not expensive. Take Paws Rescue covers the cost of all vetting, and can provide crates, food, anything you need really. Some groups ask that you provide your foster’s food and or crates, collars, leashes, harnesses, toys/treats.

Can’t foster? Your charitable donations to a 501c3 rescue organization like Take Paws Rescue in New Orleans are fully tax deductible and help save furry little lives.


Nobody Likes Going to the Dentist

Tell your kids to go brush their teeth. Trust me. Just do it. If they decline, show them this. (Scroll down to photos below.)

Ok. Do you brush your dog’s teeth?

I admit, I don’t. I’m a good dog Mom. I am. I absolutely DO NOT brush 6 to 8 dog’s teeth daily, or weekly, or at all. I just don’t. I really hope that my kids are actually brushing their damn teeth when they say they have. That is enough of a battle. What I DO is give my dogs very healthy dog food. I NEVER feed them people food, (ok, I use some all beef hotdogs to give pills, and very occasionally I give the dogs frozen peanut butter Kongs, but that’s it).

February is Canine Dental Health month. Woo! How important is a dog’s oral hygiene? And why am I writing this in January? We have a new guest, a senior, and she had the most awful breath. I mean really bad. You could smell her breath within 5 feet of her, poor thing. It was bad. Cora was living outside with two other dogs for three years after her owner died.

The neighbors fed them.*  What they fed them – who knows? But Cora isn’t at all thin. Unfortunately, her mouth was a mess. An actual stinking mess.










Well, if you don’t want your dog to smell, and who does, their oral hygiene is quite important. Bad breath makes cuddling less fun, but did you know that canine dental problems can actually have major adverse health impacts? The toxins from periodontal disease are absorbed into a dog’s blood stream. As the kidneys, liver, and brain filter the blood, small infections occur. These can become life-threatening infections, causing permanent and even fatal heart, liver, and kidney disease.

Whether or not you brush your dog’s teeth (and hey, good for you if you do, because most of us don’t), you should have a look inside your dog’s mouth every once in a while. If you notice any of these signs of dental problems, you need to visit the vet:
  • Bad breath
  • Change in eating/chewing habits
  • Pawing at the face or mouth
  • Depression
  • Excessive drooling
  • Misaligned/missing teeth
  • Discolored, broken, missing/crooked teeth
  • Red, swollen, painful or bleeding gums
  • Yellowish-brown crust along the gum line
  • Bumps or growths in the mouth

Your dog should have his teeth checked by a professional every six to twelve months.

Cora had to have almost all of her teeth extracted. 27 I believe. She was in bad shape. These are pictures from my amazing vet. You can’t see how bad it is until the teeth come out. Look how much of the damage was well below the surface. Yuck.

GROSS, right?

PREVENTION is so important! Addressing problems when they are minor is key to your dog’s overall health and longevity. Most pet insurance policies won’t pay out for dental treatment, so delaying can be costly.

What to do?

Brushing your dog’s teeth is best, but needs to be done daily to be truly effective. Alternatively, for the busy and the lazy, like myself, it’s really easy to give them treats that help remove tartar and plaque build up and also help with that bad breath. We use these and these.

What you feed your dog is very important to your their overall health. Generally, a good quality dry kibble is better than soft food, which is more likely to stick to you dog’s teeth and cause tooth decay. You can also provide natural treats. Most dogs like the taste of apples. Chewing on fresh, crisp apple slices helps remove bacteria and food particles from teeth. Just no seeds, there are bad, (tiny bit of arsenic). Fresh carrots and celery are also good bacteria removers. Good luck with the celery, not a hit at my house.

Adding a little dollop of plain yogurt with live active cultures to your dog’s daily kibble is beneficial. Probiotics are great for their tummies, but yogurt can reduce odor causing hydrogen sulfide in your dog’s mouth and also help destroy the bacteria that cause plaque and tartar.
Recommended Daily Intake of  plain, nothing added yogurt:
  • Small size dogs – 1 tsp to 1 tbs
  • Medium size dogs – 1/8 cup
  • Large dogs – 1/3 cup
  • Extra large dogs – 1/2 cup

Miss Cora is home, resting, and is already feeling so much better without her teeth. We will be giving her soft foods for a few weeks and antibiotics. She is going to be such a happy girl! Now we just need to find her forever family!

*All three senior dogs are rescued and in foster homes. Let me know if you are interested in adopting!


Backyard breeding

When you think puppy, you think happy things, right? Puppies are soft, and playful, and adorable. Most of us would never think of anyone mistreating a puppy.

This 9 week old puppy has had a rough start in life. He has been rescued from an outdoor kennel in freezing, filthy conditions. His brothers and his parents have been sold by a profit motivated backyard breeder. Because of the tenacity of several rescue women, this puppy was saved and will be adopted to a wonderful forever home through Take Paws Rescue. I have seen evidence that his brothers are both in safe homes. Unfortunately, I have no idea where his parents ended up.

He is an Anatolian Shepherd, a large Turkish breed that protects livestock. I lived in Turkmenistan for 2 years and learned a few Turkish names. This boy, while he is with me, will be Naciye. In Turkish it means saved and being secured; saved from hell and deserving heaven. It is pronounced (NAH-jee-uh), but the last syllable is very slight, so NAH-jee. Naciye was happy to have a bath and got the bad smell off. He loves being bundled in warm, soft blankets.

At 9 weeks old and already 21lbs, this is going to be a really big dog! He could reach 130-150lbs easily.

I learned about Naciye from the woman that went to buy a puppy and discovered and documented the deplorable conditions that these dogs were living in. She (and many others) have called the authorities and reported this. As far as we have seen, nothing has been done. Shockingly, this is legal and within the owners rights because these dogs have been “provided shelter”. Look at this photo. This is legal. It makes me sick that this is the case.

It makes me feel really good to know that these particular puppies are safe and warm right now, but this is part of a much larger problem – backyard breeding.

If you are looking to add a dog to your family, rescue one, or at least research and check out the breeder thoroughly. Backyard breeding (anyone who deliberately breeds for profit, or has a litter by negligent accident and then gives away or sells the puppies), is the single greatest cause of the pet overpopulation. Backyard breeders, and people who buy dogs from backyard breeders, are perpetuating a crisis that is being cruelly  “managed” through euthanization.

Although it is appalling to me that anyone would keep puppies, or any dogs, in these conditions, it is worse that because these dogs are poorly bred, unsocialized, and tend to require more medical care than most owners, shelters and rescues can afford, all too many of these dogs will be euthanized. These backyard breeders all too often end up with more dogs than they can properly care for, and then the authorities seize the dogs and take them to overcrowded shelters, or else, as with our recent foster-Lab, Maddie, the breeder dumps a large group of them at the shelter. If there isn’t space, if there aren’t adopters and fosters, they are put down.

Worse, most of the dogs being euthanized in the shelters day after day are are actually young and healthy, adoptable dogs. Even puppies are put to sleep. I’ve seen estimates that the majority of euthanized dogs are under 12 months old. The problem is simple. There are too many dogs and there are too few homes. The majority of killing could easily be prevented by spaying and neutering our pets.

Euthanasia is the single largest cause of death for dogs in the U.S. & the only way to stop the needless killing of dogs is to stop the needless breeding of them.  





This puppy is happy to be safe, inside and warm, well fed, and dewormed. (He doesn’t understand that last one, but he sure feels better.) Naciye has several interested adopters. He will be neutered at 6 months old by people who love dogs and care enough to not be part of the problem.

There’s a Place for Us

Rita Hayworth loved Marlon Brando so much that it almost killed her. During their torrid 8 year affair, she suffered his philandering, his emotional abuse, and a botched abortion. Keeping that in mind, I am not a fan of Brando. I recently pulled two gorgeous 1 year old dogs from the shelter named Brando and Rita Hayworth. It is unclear if they are siblings or just pack mates. They were surrendered together when their owner passed away just before Thanksgiving. They were scared and depressed and not adjusting to the shelter. Who can blame them?

Another foster that I know had just asked me to keep a look out for a young yellow lab female for her. Voila, Rita appeared. The shelter thought that Rita had recently had a litter of puppies, it appeared that she was leaking milk. The man that surrendered her said there were no puppies. It seemed suspicious. Rita seemed sad. So did Brando


Rita was picked up by her foster-fail momma and I kept Brando here. He wasn’t answering to that name. He completely ignored it, so I began to call him Teddy. He looks just like an enormous Teddy Bear. Rita has become Roo. It turns out that this girl did not have a litter of puppies. When taken to the vet to be checked over and spayed, we discovered that she had a massive Uterine infection. Poor girl was feeling miserable. Thank God we got her taken care of. Had she remained in the shelter, the infection would have spread and it could have been much worse for her. She is now in her forever home and healing nicely.

In the meantime, everyone is falling in love with Teddy, with the exception of my foster Artie, who would rather Teddy leave us. These two do not get along. Teddy went almost immediately into a wonderful adoptive home with a woman and the 15 year old dog that she rescued after it was thrown from a moving vehicle. I did the home visit and little, senior Sophie seemed cautious, but friendly towards Teddy. I think she was fine with him until she realized that he was staying, and not just there for a visit. Little Sophie went on a hunger strike in protest and was hiding in the crate all day, and although the woman loved Teddy and he was completely calm, after several days of this, we decided that it was too much stress for Sophie. Teddy came back home with me. We always want every member of the family to be onboard with an adoption.

Teddy is still sad. His tail wags, we cuddle, but he is sad. That’s why I had an idea. Roo’s foster fail momma said that she would be interested in a playmate for Roo. What better than to reunite Teddy and Roo? At the shelter, they brought her to him when he was depressed and it cheered him up. So, paws crossed, Teddy will go to Roo’s new home tonight and I’m hoping for a 2nd foster fail. If not, there is plenty of interest in Teddy, but I think they would heal better together. What if Rita Hayworth and Brando had a second chance at happily ever after?

It would make a good story…



Home is where Henry is

Today was the day. I woke up at o-dark-thirty, grabbed a large coffee, put Henry in a harness and we headed out towards Jackson, MS. His rescue has a volunteer transport lined up and he needed to be dropped off at the vet for his health certificate. Henry, who has been with us since last March, and was not successfully adopted, would be going to a new foster home in California.

I’m still not sure why this darling beagle was not adopted. One look at those big brown eyes and he owned me.

Its nearly a 3 hour drive to Jackson. I only made it an hour. Henry, who loves car rides and and stands on his hind paws with the wind in his face, was curled into a tight ball in the back seat, whining. I told him I loved him and he was going on a long trip to a new home. He whimpered. I swear that they understand what is happening. Maybe they don’t understand my words, but they understand my emotions. He knew. His favorite stuffed Moose was on the back seat next to him. He looked at it. Looked at me. He knew it shouldn’t be there. He alternated between quiet and whining. I rolled down the windows. He stayed curled in a ball.

I recently drove Tres all of the way to Ohio, and I didn’t cry until I had handed him over and got back into the car. I knew he was going to a good home. He was happy the whole trip. This wasn’t like that. Henry was scared. I was crying. I was crying enough that I had to pull over. I was crying enough that I had to call my husband. I had to turn around and drive Henry home. He is home. We love him and he is staying. It wasn’t planned. I thought I could say goodbye. He couldn’t. I couldn’t.

A lot of people say that they can’t foster because they would want to keep them all. I was ready to let Henry go. He was nearly adopted in New Orleans. It didn’t work out, but it was a good home. I would have been happy for him, happy for the family. I can do that. It just wan’t meant to be with Henry. He was meant to be with us. We got home and he was so happy. The other dogs were so happy to see him! So, now I have four permanent residents. Pen, Ollie, Bailey & Henry.

That was all before 9am…

Meet Artie! Artie is a highly unexpected guest, (because I am getting Brando on Thursday afternoon).

Mr Artie was abandoned and found himself at the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter. He was rescued to a foster home a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, his little foster brother vetoed him (and picked a fight), and Artie vetoed apartment life. He is active, and needs a yard to run around in. Artie needed a place to stay, immediately. So, here he is. I have chased him with a camera all day. He was in constant motion. Anxious, but happy to run and play. Tonight, he is cuddled up on the couch with my husband. Calm. He is playful, and gentle, and loves car rides and being outside. Artie is a 4 year old Springer Spaniel/Collie mix. He is very sweet with my kids. He will sit for a treat. I don’t know how this darling lost his family, but he deserves only the best in life. He is 50 lbs of fluff and love.

The Cecchine Hotel for Dogs is full again, just the way we like it.

I may never go to the bathroom alone again…



A Refuge From the Storm

I joke with people that I am learning Louisiana geography through animal rescue. It’s true. I have driven all over rural southern Louisiana to visit animal shelters and spring dogs from doggy jails. A few weeks ago I drove up to Folsom, Louisiana, which is about an hour north of New Orleans.  It was a lovely day for a drive across the lake. Fun fact: with a length of 24 miles, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the world’s longest bridge over water. I have driven it many times this year while taking Tres, my former tripod foster, to his specialized physical therapy sessions. (If you have ever driven it in driving rain with very low visibility, you will know why I strongly prefer these sunny, clear days.)

Why Folsom? Prior to Hurricane Harvey, all of the Take Paws Rescue animals were housed in volunteer foster homes like mine. Last August, Take Paws Rescue,  partnered with The Inner Pup of New Orleans (TIPNO), to convert a 5,000 square-foot workshop on a 17 acre residential homestead in Folsom, LA into a temporary home for dogs that have been rescued from the flooded shelters of Hurricane Harvey in St. Landry, Vermillion and Iberia Parishes of Louisiana, as well as flooded areas of Texas. Originally purchased as a refuge from city life for the Goldring family (the founders of TIPNO) and their personal dogs, the family generously offered the space for immediate rescue use after Harvey. The heartbreaking truth is that already over crowded shelters would have to euthanize animals in order to make room unless rescues and adopters stepped in to take the animals.  Sadly, in this region, there are always more animals in need than there are rescues and resources to save them. Rescue organizations outside of the immediate area also offered to host these displaced companions if they had space, but this was insufficient to meet the overwhelming and immediate demand.


Why are there so many dogs in need? Sadly, as many as eighty percent of dogs in rescue shelters in Louisiana are euthanized.  This kill rate is one of the highest in the United States and unfortunately represents the culture of how supposed companion animals are regarded in the U.S. South. In search of longer-term solutions to pet overpopulation, Take Paws Rescue is partnered with TIPNO, whose mission is to create a network of accessible, affordable resources, enlightened attitudes, and accountability so that families embrace pets, and to end the cycle of abuse, neglect and overpopulation through community education and prevention programs.

In the short–term, Take Paws moves animals into foster and forever homes as quickly as possible, but there are always more dogs in need than there are open foster homes. The TIPNO Takes Paws refuge allows us to save the lives of more animals by pulling them out of overcrowded and underfunded animal shelters, getting them all necessary veterinary care, spaying and neutering, and listing them for adoption with fully vetted applicants. The refuge is a wonderful facility with plenty of room for the dogs to run and play outside. It is a place to heal on the way to their forever homes!

Look who I met at Folsom, Buddy and Boss, our latest guests at The Cecchine Hotel for dogs. Since August of 2017, the TIPNO Takes Paws refuge has housed 175 dogs and going forward we expect to house as many as 30 to 40 dogs per month. We believe it is important to maintain a surge capacity so that we will be ready for the next natural disaster emergency that our region will inevitably face.

Our team has many volunteers, but the demand to provide the best care for these displaced pets is nearly overwhelming. As well as fostering, I am currently seeking grants and writing funding proposals for for the TIPNO Takes Paws Refuge.

To help as many pets as we can, we are in need of: 

-A bathing station for pets – and a bathroom for the people staff!

-A vehicle to safely move animals to and from veterinary care, which is vital to them being healthy enough to be adopted

-Medical supplies(including heartworm and flea and tick protection) and funding for veterinary care

-Pet food (We go through at least 20 bags of dog food every month), treats, and toys

-Cleaning supplies

-Bedding and blankets to keep the pets safe and comfortable, as well as heaters and fans


We always need more short-term fosters:  http://takepawsrescue.org/foster/


Want to DONATE to Take Paws Rescue (via Paypal)?

or you can send checks to:

The Inner Pup of New Orleans
 5208 magazine Street, Suite 357
 New Orleans, LA 70115

I will happily accept donated items and drive them to our pups in need in Folsom. 
Just get in touch with me at: daniellececchine@icloud.com 



Boss (black and white) and Buddy(brown and white) are both doing really well. Boss has found his forever home and Buddy (with his free hugs) has found his way into my heart. He will be tough to say farewell to.

Buddy is currently accepting applications for a lifetime of free hugs at: http://takepawsrescue.org/adopt/



But wait – there’s more: Bella & Millie & Zoe

I saw this picture on a shelter website and I fell in love. It happens that way.

So, I contacted the rescue, and then I contacted the shelter manager. And, you know how when you are shopping on Amazon, they recommend other items? If you like that, you’ll love this!  Well, the shelter manager was quick to let me know that this darling came in with two others, probably siblings. Rescuers don’t like to leave family behind. If we take puppies, we take mom. If we take one puppy, we also take its siblings. I was ready to take two of the three girls if I could find a foster for the third, and then we hit a snag. Another rescue that I work with had just pulled a mama and her litter of pups from this same shelter and they had kennel cough. Kennel cough is highly contagious. It is treatable, but dangerous in puppies. Left untreated, it can become pneumonia. One of the rescued puppies that had it was being hospitalized.  An outbreak of kennel cough at the shelter. This was a problem.

If you take your dog to boarding or daycare they require a bordatella vaccination because of the easy contagion. All of my dogs are vaccinated.  Just like the flu shot that we all get every year, the bordatella vaccine doesn’t cover all of the strands of kennel cough, just the two most common ones. After the giardia outbreaks of the past summer, and the joys and expense of treating every dog here for it, I am being cautious. Mya has a suppressed immune system and I am particularly concerned about exposing her. I ended up pulling the little black one, Bella, from the shelter and leaving the other two behind. I had only found 1 foster willing to deal with a quarantine situation. Bella was the sickest and most stressed in the shelter. She has a little cough. The vet tech working at the shelter said that all three dogs had tested positive for heartworm, and Bella was highly positive, so I got her out first. I asked if they were treating the 3 for kennel cough or heartworm. No, she said. We don’t have the funding for meds and we don’t give them anything unless it gets really bad. So, every dog that is brought in is given a bordatella vaccination, but thats it. They are all exposed, and not treated. It breaks my heart.

I spent a week begging for fosters for the other two. The problem is, there are just so many dogs in need, and never enough fosters. Taking in a contagious dog isn’t an easy thing. I understand. But I wasn’t going to give up on these puppies. I share my fostering stories constantly, and introvert that I am, I ask total strangers if they would like to become fosters. It has been such an amazing positive experience for me. If you show interest, I ask if you want to try it. I followed up with a woman who commented on a Facebook post about these puppies. I talked with my waitress who was really enthusiastic about fostering one of them. Unfortunately, they both said they would love to, and then didn’t fill out the necessary application to become a foster. In the meantime, I felt awful about leaving the other two dogs behind. Really awful. I finally got to the point where I couldn’t just leave them there. I had an interested adopter for one and a potential foster for one and so I went and got them both. I’m so glad that I did! There have been a few coughs and sneezes, but nothing bad. They are all three house and crate trained and as sweet as can be. They all have adopters lined up. Best news is, we took them to the vet this morning to get spayed and I asked them to repeat the heartworm test – all 3 came back negative! I am overwhelmingly happy about this!!! Best news ever!

These 3 puppies were lost, or thrown away, and then locked up in puppy prison. I am so happy to be able to get them out and into forever homes. They are going to make three families very happy! The is why I rescue. I spread love.

Look at them now.

If you’re happy and you know Whit

scared |skerd| adjective fearful; frightened: he's trembling and scared at the shelter | [ with clause ] :  I was scared to take him in | [ with  infinitive ]: We were scared that he would not get along with other dogs 


Little Bernie is finally going to his forever home this week! Hooray for Bernie. That means that I can take in another small dog. This is what came to my attention:

IPAC is Iberia Parish Animal Control.

It’s nearly 4th of July, and the shelters are full. In the summer months, it’s a depressing triage. I cannot imagine working in the shelter, having full responsibility for the process of choosing which will be euthanized. Working in rescue is, for me, is a happy thing. I am looking at the glass as half full. I choose, from amongst a large number that require fosters, which ones to help. I can’t save every dog, but I can save one at a time, and that is enough for me. I cannot, as much as I would like to, take in a pregnant dog right now, nor can I take in the mother with her seven nursing puppies. I can’t even respond to the messages that come in to the rescues that sound like this: I have been taking care of this dog, but it is not mine and I’m going on vacation so I need someone to take it or I’m taking it to the shelter. The shelter says if it is not claimed after three days, it will be euthanized. Or like this: I need a new home for my dog, he is really sweet and house-trained but my baby is due next week and I need him gone. Or like this: I’m looking to re-home this 10 month old puppy, my daughter doesn’t play with it anymore and we want it to go to a good home. I work and I just can’t give it the attention it needs. Yes, people suck. These are the people that are at least trying to reach out to a rescue for help. In the grand scheme of things, they are way better than the ones that dump their dogs or take them to a shelter without even trying to find a new home for them. 

I have Tres here, going through physical therapy and needing help with the stairs to go in and out of the house. I have Henry going through his heartworm treatment. He is on strict cage rest with leashed potty breaks only. No running, no jumping, no playing. It has been 4 weeks of that, and he has 4-6 to go. He is not pleased. I have Nola, who, along with Bernie,  is working hard on potty training, but he’s used to just going when the urge hits. I have my hands full. Add my dogs – Pen & Ollie & Bailey – and I have 7. What am I going to do if this little, shaking dog, who has come from a really bad situation, doesn’t get along with the other dogs?

Well, this could go one way or another. Either he will start a fight, or, and I was strongly counting on this outcome, he will arrive at The Cecchine Hotel for Dogs, will meet the pack, and will decide that this is a happy, safe, and fun place to be. Add to this uncertainty the fact that this little guy is an intact male. I have had zero luck with boys with balls. They can be aggressive, stupidly aggressive, like pick-a-fight-with-a-dog-6-times-your-size stupidly aggressive.

This poor little guy has been mistreated and is scared. I’m scared he won’t do well here. What do you do when you’re scared? Well, thinking about it won’t make the fear go away, but action will. I decided to try. Running The Cecchine Hotel for Dogs has been about stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things. And guess what?

I can do this. Again and again, I realize I can do this. And so, I am very pleased to share pictures and videos of a little scared dog we call Whit. Whit isn’t scared anymore. This boy is happy. Like all of the dog guests that have come before him, he is grateful. He is happy. He is lifting his leg on my chair – no Whit! Outside! Okay, we are working on this. Those balls are coming off today buddy; you don’t need them. We are not marking all over the house. Nope. No.


This is what happiness looks like. Click here. This is why I foster.

Whit is a 6-year-old bundle of happiness and he is in need of a forever home. He will follow you everywhere, wagging his tail. He would love to sit on your lap. Whit (minus those pesky balls) is available for adoption through Take Paws Rescue.


Собака по имени Саша – our newest guests

Her name is Cherokee Princess Sapphire, but we call her Sasha. It suits her. Her shelter papers had her listed as Sapphire, but she’s no good on the pole, if you know what I mean. I chose Sasha because it is a soft name, feminine and strong. A good Slavic name for a beautiful pure bred Siberian Husky. And she is beautiful. Her eyes are the light blue of frozen glacier water. Why the long name above? This girl has AKC papers. How in the hell does a gorgeous, 3-year-old American Kennel Club girl end up in a shelter?  Was there some awful tragedy in the family? Nope. This is one of the stories that make me angry. I will try to balance my angry frustration with lovely puppy photos, and accept that we never really know why people do the sucky things that they do.

The lovely woman who volunteered to drive Sasha, and several other dogs, south to various rescue organizations told me Sasha’s story as she rolled her eyes in disgust. Sasha was owned by the daughter of the shelter manager where she was turned in, un-spayed, with the excuse that daughter had been evicted and moved to a place that doesn’t accept pets. This dog would have cost anywhere from $1300 on up from a breeder, which leaves lots of questions. Excuse my general indignation, but, how can you be an animal shelter manager and not teach your own child to spay/neuter her pets? Why would a shelter manager’s daughter buy a dog from a breeder when so many beautiful, deserving dogs are being euthanized at mom’s shelter? Why wouldn’t mom make her daughter either find a way to keep the dog or help her to find a new home for this girl? Shelter managers know that when the shelters are full, as they are now, completely full, the owner surrendered dogs are the first to be euthanized.  (Strays are held for about a week while their owners have a chance to find them.)

Despite being abandoned by her owner, Sasha is lovely and likes to cuddle up into a ball at my feet. I have been battling a stomach flu, and Sasha has been nursing me, keeping me company, letting me know that I am loved. She plays with Bernie, our little dachshund puppy, at my feet.

She makes my first lab, Pen, extremely jealous with her I’m-beautiful-and-I’ll cuddle-your-mom-if-I-want-to-attitude. I’m pretty sure that Sasha was an only dog. The Cecchine Hotel for Dogs has been an adjustment for her, and she is doing very well.

Sasha is not the 1st purebred dog I’ve seen in a shelter, and she won’t be the last. It makes me angry. I feel like its just to easy for people to throw dogs away, not my problem, let somebody else deal with it.

We are so happy to have Sasha as our guest, but we know it won’t be for long. This beautiful girl is going to be adopted quickly. She is going to be taken into a family and loved forever, the way that it should be. We are excited to find her forever family. They will be lucky to have her.

Sasha will be available for adoption from Take Paws Rescue. Also, if you happen to need a calendar, Take Paws can help you out.

2017 Take Paws Rescue Calendar

(Oh yeah, and I have a degree in Russian, which I don’t get to use much these days, and I’m perfectly good with that!)

Let me pause here for a puppy photo:

Its not a great photo, but they are cute. Someone dumped them, 7 of them. Yeah, people suck. It was called a “common dumping area”. The good news: someone picked them up! Yay! The bad news: it turns out they have skin issues, possibly mange. The good news: a rescue volunteer was ready to take them and make sure that they get the care that they need and deserve. The bad news: the person that found them said that she was just going to dump them again rather than deal with it. She then agreed to bring them to the rescuer. Bad news: She never showed up or answered the rescuer’s calls. Why do people suck this much? They are cute, little, innocent puppies for God’s sake! More bad news: dogs and cats and puppies and kittens get dumped every day. There are more puppies and kittens being born than people willing to take them into their homes, and that is why some people are completely opposed to any sort of formal breeding.  I just want people to take responsibility for the pets that they brig into their home. They are living things, and they should be treated as part of the family. As much as you might want to, you don’t move away and leave family in the backyard for the neighbors to feed. You don’t dump the families’ babies in a box somewhere and let them fend for themselves. He might really be an ass, but you don’t throw grumpy old uncle Jack out of a truck and just drive away from him. Family is forever, period, the end.

I’d like to end on a positive, and I was ready to post this blog entry, when I saw a message that came to NOLA Lab Rescue:

“Hello, I have a friend on vacation in New Orleans. A stray dog followed her back to her Airbnb and she doesn’t know who to reach out to. The Shelter is closed until tomorrow and the humane society has a waiting list to take in strays. Any suggestions?”

I suggested that she take the dog to Zeus’ Rescues, where they have a microchip reader. She doesn’t have a car. Found out you can Uber with a dog. You just have to let the driver know in advance. Then she said that the finder was willing to take the dog home with her, to Ohio, and that she already has a rescued dog, a lab named Bentley from The Greater Dayton Labrador Retriever Rescue. Then I knew she was a good person, and I just gave my number and asked the finder to call me. Jenny is the lovely young lady that rescued an overheated, dehydrated puppy and went all out trying to get him home or home with her. We drove to her AirBnB with dog food, a small harness, a leash, a small stuffed pig, some treats, and a crate. We hoped to help her find a pet carrier and she had already added him to her ticket home tomorrow on Allegiant Air. Unfortunately, this little puppy is too big for that size carrier. She named him Nola. I told her I had posted his picture on all of the local lost pet boards and I would take him to get scanned for a microchip.

There, that’s better. Not all people suck!

Nola does not have a microchip. I asked and  Zeus’ Rescues gave me a sample of Trifexis ( kills fleas and prevents flea infestations, treats and controls adult hookworm, whipworm and roundworm infections, and prevents heartworm disease) and I have some dewormer at home that I randomly bought at Walmart just in case.  We decided to bring Nola to The Cecchine Hotel for Dogs and find him transportation to Ohio. I have family in Cincinnati, so that might end up being me.

добро пожаловать! Welcome Nola!



He seems to like it here. He is absolutely adorable.