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Pet Tales 2018

Stories to warm your heart and tickle your funny bone

Speckles, a Rabbit with Spunk
       Speckles, a mix of English spot and miniature rabbit, came from Gurnie and Millie Hobbs of Bowie to our children Peter, 5, and Barbara, 3, in the spring of 1974.
      While living outdoors during his first summer in a wooden hutch with litter box, he was bitten by a horse fly, infesting his hind quarters deeply with the animal disease warbles.
      Our vet cured his pneumonia, but Speckles could never hop or jump again, due to warbles. He became our indoor lap rabbit, wearing Pampers cut into quarters.
       We built him a bed on rollers in the kitchen. He would throw his bowl across the floor when he wanted more food pellets and tore newspaper into strips to get attention when we talked on the phone. Barb carried him in a basket at Halloween. He rode in Peter’s bike basket. We carried him to visit nursing home patients. When traveling, we carried him in a covered basket and slipped him veggie snacks, or he snuggled in our laps. A Pennsylvania vet fitted him with a metal cart so he could stand to eat flowers outside. The cart cost $3,000 in the ‘70s. Each night he was bathed, then fell asleep.
      Speckles died suddenly from a heart attack at age five. In a downpour, we buried him with a loving note from Barbara, with family and friends present. Speckles remains in our memories as our smartest pet. 
–Bruce Jones

Paid In Full
      Several years ago my family and our Chihuahua, Chloe, were walking in DuPont Park in Washington State. My son and I began racing toward my husband, who was walking ahead. As we approached, he began sprinting. He recalled that as he ran, he kicked something. He looked down to see what it was as he stepped on it, too. It was at that moment he realized that the object was our 3.3-pound dog. 
       When he kicked her, her head scraped across the asphalt, scalping the top. When he stepped on her, her neck extended and twisted about 45 degrees to the side, causing one eye to pop out. I stopped when I heard loud and distressed breathing. I looked down at what my husband was standing over.
      Then I grabbed our son and turned his face into my chest and yelled, “Finish it!”
        My husband replied, “Let me think!”
       After assessing Chloe, he opened her airway, wrapped her up in his shirt, and we dashed to doggie ER. Hours later a veterinarian escorted us into a room to share the bad news. Chloe and her eye would be fine. Our bill was $2,700. 
–Samantha Treadway, Annapolis
 

Through a Dog, Detective Jacai ­Colson Lives On
      Until nine years ago, I always had at least one dog in my life. Because of my schedule, personal life and traveling — and the emotional attachment of my last dog — I went years without a dog in my life.
      On Sunday, March 13, 2016, however, a series of events changed all that. An armed man assaulted a Prince George’s County police station; Detective Jacai Colson #3693 was killed in the line of duty. 
       I shared an office with Jacai, and we shared many mutual friends and coworkers. Shortly after his death, I saw a story about a litter of 10 puppies born in a foster home for Operation Paws for Homes. The foster parent, the wife of another officer, named the puppies after recently fallen officers. She named one of them Colson after my co-worker.
       I knew I needed to adopt that dog — not because I was ready for a puppy or planned for a puppy, but because that puppy felt like a part of my extended family. If Jacai’s family was not able or ready to adopt the puppy, I planned to adopt him and keep him in our family.
      Colson was eight weeks old when I brought him home. He and his littermates had already been in the national and local news, and this continued after his adoption. I created a Facebook page for Colson, called Colson’s Corner, which has nearly 700 followers. It documents the daily travels and experiences of Colson and his dad, which is me.
       Colson has filled a hole in my life, making my day-to-day life more enjoyable. I had not realized how not having a dog for so long had left a void in my life until Colson filled it.
      Jacai was known for his infectious smile. Colson carries on that memory for me. We often visit people in need of a smile, including Jacai’s friends and co-workers, and the people who were part of the tragic loss, such as dispatchers, hospital staff and doctors. If there is one common theme during all of Colson’s visits, it’s that he makes people smile. That same infectious smile Jacai was known for is carried on in the way Colson brings smiles to others.
       Colson’s presence has brought many new friends into my life. People I would never have met if I had not adopted him. Through Colson, the memory of Detective Jacai Colson #3693 — and his smile — live on in this dog.
–George Norris 

Rudder Rides
      At four months old, this young man found his sea legs; on his very first boat ride. Rudder never hesitates to hop on a boat and find the spot where he can feel the wind in his ears and watch the water rush past the hull. He’s a true boat dog.
–Megan Dierks, West River
 
 
 
 
 
 

Rescuing Jack
       At Crunchies, one of our passions is adoption and rescue. 
      The story of our rescue beagle is well known. Charlie is the poster child for how a rescue can change your life and you can change theirs.
       But there is another rescue in our home …
       Meet Jack, our pit bull.
       The day we first saw Jack, he weighed only 32 pounds and could fit into Charlie’s old harness. He was skin and bones. My husband, Mike, saw him on the side of the road and thought he was a branch. We searched for him through woods, fields and ravines for over two hours. 
        As we were giving up I drove down a winding back road and saw him trying to get into a trashcan. I stopped to leave food and he ran under the car. As Mike was over two miles away searching for him I didn’t know how to get this poor dog out from under the car. 
       A passer-by offered help, using a tree limb to get him out from under the car. He said he had never seen such a skinny dog that wasn’t dead. 
      If he could get him out, I said, I would push him into the car. Jack was scared, barking, growling and shaking. “I don’t think he likes people,” the kind man said.
       “He’s not going to make it much longer,” I said, so just push him out. He scooted him out and I shoved him into the backseat. 
        When I found Mike, he was upset that the dog was going to die in the woods. “Turn around and look,” I told him. Jack was on the floor of the car.
We took him home and laid him on a blanket. All of his bones were sticking out, just skin covering a skeleton. His feet and nails were bloody, and his face was scratched, red and irritated from living in the woods. He was not a pretty sight.
        At the hospital, it turned out he had no major injuries or illnesses. He had just been starving for quite a while. 
        We were able to take a treat out of his mouth even though he was starving. It was then that we saw how sweet he really was. It was only about a month later before he was back to looking like what a full-grown pit bull should. 
         He is a sweet, goofy, fun-loving, hugging and kissing dog who has been a wonderful addition to our home and to Crunchies. 
        Charlie took him under his care and taught him how to be a housedog and good brother to the cats. He even has his own cat, Lollipop, that he helped raise from a sick, tiny kitten to his now best friend. She grooms him and sleeps with him, and they love to play. She will chase him and play hide and seek, and he loves it. 
          Bringing Jack into our home completed our family. You never know what life brings you when you rescue an animal, but it fills your heart with joy! 
        At Crunchies, we have adoption events and can help guide you in finding your new family member. All of us are delighted to hear about your newly adopted pets. Your furry ones are welcome to visit and try out new treats. 
–Julia Brewer, owner, Crunchies Natural Pet Foods

Adopt: You Will Save a Life
         Noel weighed a scant four pounds at an estimated two to four years old.     
       She hid at the back of her Animal Control cage and ran for cover the second her tiny feet hit the floor.
        You could easily count her ribs and vertebrae. She wouldn’t eat. The volunteers did not expect her to survive. We were overwhelmed with pity for this tiny cat. Minutes later we signed off on the adoption papers.
         They gave us an adoption packet and syringes to attempt to hydrate and feed the dangerously malnourished cat. 
        A day passed before she touched a piece of kitten chow. A month went by before she ventured out from behind the sink. After that, she hid under the bed for six months. Eventually, her curiosity got the better of her, and she explored the rest of the house.
        Fast forward three years.
        Today, Noel sleeps on her back in the sun. She carries around neon pom-poms to play with and has a bottomless appetite. Life with her is a blessing. Adopt: You will save a life.
–Joel and Cathy Needham
 

Lessons From Rocky
       In the spring of 2011 my boyfriend and I went to look at puppies. We didn’t bring enough cash to buy, but I really wanted to go see them. As soon as they ran toward me, ears flopping, I knew I would go home with one.
        It was my senior year of high school, I had just moved out on my own, and I had no business buying a puppy. It wasn’t even a thought in my mind that this Doberman mix would change my life.
      Rocky has taught me so many lessons, lessons I can’t even put into words.
      The first lesson was how to love someone else more than yourself. No matter how late I came home, no matter what homework I had to do, no matter how much money I had, he still needed things.
      He needed food, he needed vaccines, he needed love. I remember the first time he got vaccines and I emptied my bank account without a second thought, because I loved him. That was the first time but wouldn’t be the last. 
      At that vet visit, I also learned that I wanted to be a veterinary technician. By the time Rocky was six months old, I was working at my dream job. 
      Several years later, after his hip was replaced, I would learn I wanted to be a rehab technician. Through being in the veterinary field I have met wonderful doctors and wonderful people who I can call my friends, and I owe it all to him. 
      The second lesson was about not giving up when things get hard. Rocky has had major health issues. We’ve faced times when I wanted to give up. No matter the ball we are thrown, we are in it together — and I owe it to him to try my best. 
      Life isn’t supposed to be easy, and Rocky has taught me sometimes you have to ride the waves. No matter the tears I cried, the bad days I had, the success, the failures, Rocky was always there for me — and I will always be there for him. 
       He has been present in my life for more major events than anyone else. When I wanted to give up on life, Rocky was there, and I knew I couldn’t give up because he needed me.
      A dog like Rocky teaches you about life, about love and leaves a mark in your heart that will never fade. 
      My mom died when I was 14, and though nothing will ever replace her, I believe Rocky was the blessing I didn’t know I needed to help heal the ache in my heart.
–Kayla Zinn, owner, Anchors Away Pet Sitting

 
  
Distribution Dog in Training
       
      Many of you have read about Piper, The Distribution Dog, and remember that she made her last Bay Weekly delivery with Jim Lyles and me on March 1 this year. Thursdays have not been the same. We missed our best friend. So on July 1, we brought a new Distribution Dog home from North Carolina, not as a replacement for Piper, but to honor her life by saving another.
       Amber is a two-year-old sheltie/collie mix from Collie Rescue NC. She had a very rough beginning, not really knowing much human contact for her first two years. Very slowly she is beginning to understand that people can be trusted, food and fresh water will be available and she will not sleep in fear of being abused.
      We’re taking training very slowly, so it might be a couple of months before she makes her maiden trip. Amber is also camera shy; the photo here is the only one she would pose for.
–Peggy Traband

Warm Homes, Warm Hearts
        Pepper’s is rescue friendly and holds pet adoptions with various local rescue groups on the second Saturday of every month. Many animals have found awesome homes. It warms everyone’s heart when we help successful adoptions come about.  
       The folks from our very first adoption event, over 10 years ago, still come in with their Lily, and love her as much as the day they got her. 
       We love seeing the pets grow and then grow older.
–Mary Beth Gates, owner, Pepper’s Pet Pantry
 

 
A Second Chance: Brandy’s Story
      Not every dog is given a second chance. Luckily for Brandy, she received one.
      Brandy is an eight-year-old female miniature pinscher who was brought into the animal hospital I work at to be euthanized. Her owner was extremely distraught and out of options. He had moved and wasn’t able to keep her, and had exhausted more money than he had trying to treat her chronic skin condition and allergies.
      He was so upset that he couldn’t even stay with her or come back into the building. I walked out to the parking lot as he was sobbing, and he handed this confused dog to me.
       Brandy was nothing short of sweet and loveable. I knew we had to do something.
       I spoke with my manager and asked him if I could foster the dog, nurse her back to health and find her a new home. Everyone agreed that it wasn’t her time to cross over the Rainbow Bridge.
       I was so nervous to make that phone call to her previous owner. Legally, I needed him to sign her over to me to proceed. He was so thankful and overjoyed that I wanted to take her that he started crying; we both did. 
       After antibiotics, medicated baths, antifungals and a lot of diligence, Brandy bounced back and is now thriving. 
       After fostering for just a few short weeks, my husband and I both decided that she belonged with us and would have a forever home.
       She enjoys running around our farm and has a big brother named Duke. Duke is a German shepherd and much larger than Brandy, but hands down, she is the boss.
     I know we crossed paths for a reason. We love her to pieces and wouldn’t have it any other way.
–Sarah Bryant, veterinary technician, Muddy Creek Animal Hospital
 
 

A Horse Just Listens
       I went to my first horseshow at 17 months old, so I have been an equestrian all my life.
      There have been lots of horses in my life. They really are our teachers. When campers come to the farm or kids come for lessons, the kids bond with them.
       As I’ve gotten older, I love to watch kids at the farm form that special relationship with these animals.
        I know from when I was a kid what our campers and students tell me all the time: This horse just listens. The kids know that the horse will listen and be a good partner
        Horses are animals that want to please. They are very trusting and will do what is asked of them.
       There are five or six horses here at Enticement that everyone starts out riding. They are very trustworthy for the beginners, and everyone remembers them. These horses have taught so many riders we couldn’t name all of them.
         They are a part of the family of everyone who comes to Enticement.
         We do year-round lessons, so some riders come weekly and visit their special four-legged friend. The bond that they form is very strong.
–Deana Tice, owner Enticement Stables at Obligation Farms
 

Family Additions
      Last holiday season a friend posted photos of a litter of Chi-Weenie pups on Facebook. Ohhhhh! That was exactly the reaction I had.
       My son and I wanted another fur-baby in our family. However, we did not get immediate buy-in from my husband or our eight-year-old Chihuahua, Chloe, a recycled dog from Washington State SPCA. Reluctantly my husband agreed to adopt two puppies, a male for my son and a female for our niece.
      In January we traveled to Texas to retrieve our pups only to discover they were not Chi-Weenies. They were more like Chi-Whats — a mix of Chihuahua, Labrador, Dachshund, maybe German shepherd; any combination of the dogs in the neighborhood.
       After seeing two adorable mutts and a warm greeting by the pups’ dad, we were smitten.
       After we had purchased the pups, our niece’s father informed us that they cannot have pets in their apartment, so we kept both of them.
      My husband, who had never owned a small dog, is now the proud papa of three dogs collectively weighing less than 50 pounds. After months of denial, Chloe accepted the pups, too. Just about every night all three dogs cuddle on my husband’s lap while he watches TV until all four of them fall asleep. 
–Samantha Treadway, Annapolis

Some Are Born Great
      Kemie, a Russian-bred great Dane, came into Carla Wynn’s life at just 10 months old. 
       Her previous owners met and fell in love in the Peace Corps. Back home they adopted a new puppy. Just a few months later, duty called them out of the country again. 
      On glimpse of the growing pup through a mutual friend, Carla knew Kemie was meant to be hers. She brought the almost-100 pound pup home for introduction to her new family: Pocket, an eight-year-old Chihuahua; Taffy, a nine-year-old Chug; Charlie, a blind 13-year-old Italian greyhound; and Athena, a seemingly immortal feline friend. 
        The rescued bunch became fast friends. They all sleep together, talk to each other and play together — all in Carla’s two bedroom apartment. Kemie often sits up on her haunches to watch TV, sitting taller than an adult man, with her furry family snuggled around her. 
      “My Kemie is a social butterfly,” Carla says. “She moved right in and has been a rock star ever since.”
       Carla is no stranger to rescues. In the 1990s, Carla helped rescue several greyhounds after their racing careers had ended. Her rescue work continued with Labrador retrievers soon after. She has always collected the unwanted and forgotten and given them what they most want: a home. 
        Now Kemie is five and has a serious problem — a torn cruciate ligament. She’s been in this same spot before. 
      “Last time she got to where she couldn’t walk on one leg,” Carla says. “This time we are helping relieve the symptoms with acupuncture until she needs surgery.” Kemie’s first leg surgery resulted in two plates and 18 screws. 
Kemie is well known around her neighborhood. People pop into Carla’s shop, Lucky Duck Pet Stuff, to visit the gentle giant. 
       The surgery for Kemie’s second rear leg is scheduled for August 22. The procedure is quoted to be around $4,500. 
       “I’m a single dog mom and small business owner,” Carla says. “I love Kemie with all my heart, but she is the most expensive, free dog I’ve ever owned.” To pay for the surgery, Carla may sell her car. She’s also hoping Kemie’s many friends will rally round. 
        “If every person who stopped to love Kemie gave a dollar, it would be paid for in full,” Carla says.
      Give your dollar to www.gofundme.com/kemie039s-surgery.
–Carla Wynn, owner, Lucky Duck Pet Stuff
 

Siblings Reunited at Dog Thrive
       Parker and Pita two adorable lab-hound mixes that are brother and sister. They were born from the same parents but were adopted separately from Animal Resource Foundation in Chester. Fortunately for us, they both were adopted by local families and are Daycare pack members at Dog Thrive  Annapolis. 
        Last February 22 was the first time they met since being adopted. Immediately apparent when introduced again was the deep-seated love and affection they had for one another. They played, cuddled and licked each other all day. Our entire staff could not handle the cuteness.
       Through the power of social media, the owner of their mother saw our post on our Facebook page about this and commented that Piper (their mom) says Hi to her beautiful babies. How sweet!
       We adore all the fantastic dogs we get to see each and every day and just had to share this story of a brother and sister reunited.
–Tyler Parker, co-owner, Dog Thrive

Underwater ­Adventures
       There is never a dull moment when working in the aquarium industry.
       We provide service around the clock to cater to our caring clients. We have responded to everything from a disappearing Houdini to a tank bully that must be removed. 
       We cherish the moments we spend gazing with our clients into their beautiful pieces of the reef. To see our customers’ faces light up when we bring in new wet pets makes every late-night call worth it.  
–Dalton Leonard, owner, FantaSEA Aquariums
 
 

Fleury’s Super Bowl Favorite 
       My dog Fleury is normally very well-behaved. He’ll watch you when you have food, like any dog would, but that’s usually all he does. If you’re unlucky, he’ll drool on your feet, but he doesn’t beg or try to steal food. But he decided to surprise everyone and be particularly naughty this February.
       My stepmom was holding a little party for the Super Bowl, and she made roast beef and meatballs for us to make our own sandwiches. She made her roast beef sandwich first and set it on the coffee table in the family room while she played hostess. While I was getting my food in the kitchen, Fleury wandered over to the coffee table and sniffed at her sandwich. I heard my sister call his name, and I assumed that she wanted to pet him. Then she called his name more urgently, and I looked up. Fleury was walking away from the table, tail wagging, and my stepmom’s sandwich was gone. He’d scarfed down the entire thing in two bites before any of us could stop him.
–Amanda Whitehead, as told to Cassi Whitehead
 

Hiding Bill the Goat
Many years ago, we would hide the Navy’s goat mascots here in our kennel so that the other team, Army, could not find them and hide them before the games. We would keep the goats here for a few days and take care of them. No one ever knew!
–Kimberly Beverly, hospital manager, VCA South Arundel Animal Hospital
 

Roxy Wants to Be Your Faithful ­Companion
        It’s the plain and quiet ones that are most often overlooked at an animal shelter.
       Roxy Meatball, a female, eight-and-one-half-year-old boxer mix, has been with the SPCA over a year. Her solid coloring, calm demeanor and sad expression don’t draw people to her. 
      To people who know her, like our staff and volunteers, Roxy is a favorite. She gets lots of outings to the local park. She especially loves her car rides. After a busy day, Roxy loves to be read a bedtime story. She curls up on her bed and stares at you with her soulful eyes.
       She’s a true companion dog. Short walks, check. Binge watching Netflix or the latest game, check. Cuddling, check. Car rides, check.
        If you are looking for a faithful companion to share your time and your life as your only pet, Roxy is your girl. This low-key, happy girl will keep you entertained every day. 
     Please come visit Roxy Meatball at the SPCA of Anne Arundel County. While we love having her as a guest, we are really hoping to find her forever home to live out her golden years. Could it be yours?
–Kristen Rygg, administrative coordinator, SPCA of Anne Arundel County
 

Gigi the Person Trainer
       Gigi loves to be petted. She likes to have people scratch behind her ears, but her favorite kind of attention is when people rub her belly. She’s figured out the perfect way to get people to pet her. She has my granddaughter especially well-trained.
        When people walk in through my front door, Gigi runs up to greet them. She’s learned to respond to let us set the food down, and let me get into the family room, since she usually meets guests at the door. Then she’ll follow them into the family room, and once they turn around to greet her, she flops down onto her back. Sometimes she’ll even lie down on one of their feet, to make sure they can’t get away. But I don’t think whoever she traps really minds it; they get to pet her.
–by Don DeLude as told to Cassi Whitehead
 

Saved by a Chain of Good Deeds 
 
        Last year, a good Samaritan dump-truck driver found a pile of abandoned and injured puppies in a gravel pit. He rushed them to a nearby emergency hospital for treatment. 
      The puppies were covered in bite wounds, so the health department could not release them to be adopted until they had completed a four-month quarantine period. 
      Three kind individuals stepped in to long-term foster each pup. One of them, Gennifer, took home this little girl, whom she named Gemma. 
        Gemma’s wounds were kept clean, and she was treated with kindness and patience. She grew into a happy, healthy young dog.
        You would never know when meeting her that her first two months of life were so miserable. 
      Through the Southern Maryland Spay and Neuter adoption program, Gemma was spayed, vaccinated and micro-chipped before being put up for adoption. She now lives the good life with her adoptive family, who saw her on Facebook and fell in love. 
      This rags to riches story was brought to you by one caring person after another.
–Ellen McCormack-Ament, president, Southern Maryland Spay and Neuter

Lily Ann’s ­Adaptation
       Lily Ann is a tri-color cavalier King Charles spaniel. At eight weeks of age, she was sold at a discount as a runt and transported 200 miles by her breeder’s husband in a private propeller plane for his flight pleasure. The trauma felt by a timid pup in a noisy, bouncy crate — separated from her mother — set her anxious nature.
       In her new home, she immediately seized on Amelia Rose, born from a previous cavalier litter, as her mother figure.
        She presents as a strong-willed free spirit who acts from a position of alpha dog — yet is as clingy as Velcro. 
      We were surprised when she tried to join us at the end of the pier and couldn’t get past three planks. Even when her sister ran down the pier, she tried a few steps and retreated barking all the way to shore.
      My friend gently carried her down and let her sit in his lap. Then, he coaxed her down a little further each time before picking her up to carry her. 
      Within a week, she was tripping down the pier behind us all like she had always been the brave little girl with attitude that you see!
–Peggy Daw, Shady Side

What’s That Smell?
       Around 1am on a cold February morning, Reese, our rescue, started frantically barking and scratching at the door. She is the self-appointed protector of our livestock, and she takes her job seriously.
       I let her out into the backyard while I put on my coat to follow. Out the door I went. I followed the sounds of her barking. As I hit the corner of the house, I was struck by what smelled like an electrical fire. I grabbed Reese by the collar and put her in the house. Then I ran back to the area of the smell to check the electrical outlets in the barn. Finding nothing I returned to the house confused.
       As I opened the door, I was greeted by Reese and was struck by a smell … skunk! Poor Reese was pawing at her face trying to get the foul spray off her nose. Obviously she had put her face much too close to the backside of the skunk she chased.
      It took many baths and three weeks for the smell to disappear from Reese and the interior of the house.
      Reese still protects the livestock and is still very serious about her job.
–Bonnie Burke, Tracys Landing