Sorry to be THAT guy…

especially on Halloween, but I interrupt your candy binging with big news!

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That’s not news to anybody…. Here’s the real news:
I have officially bought my first domain and website!

All the content you love on sweettoothnothings.wordpress.com has been transferred over to my fancy schmancy new site: sweettoothtravels.com

It’ll be more professional, hopefully.
More monetarily beneficial for me, hopefully.
And… it’s way less characters to type into your browser, for sure!

Unfortunately, that does mean you will have to click the ‘Follow’ button and enter your email address again. Laaame. The bright side is, once you verify your email address, you’ll automatically be alerted of my new posts. Huzzah!

So, please go ahead and follow more of my adventure at sweettoothtravels.com.
I won’t be posting on this site anymore!
Also be sure to share my posts, follow my Instagram and Twitter, comment, and even buy a product or two.
Admittedly, I do get a percentage of the sales, but most of my money goes to travel and foster dogs, anyways. It’s a win-win!

If there’s a product you’d like me to advertise or somewhere you’d recommend I become an affiliate, please let me know. Mama needs a new dog harness!

Not to mention, if you have a business with which you’d like some support, let me know! I’m happy to help, collaborate, or do whatever I can to get your business going.

Thank you, thank you, thank you ALL for your continuing support. I adore ya.
Happy Halloween!

Instagram: @sweettoothtravels

Twitter: @sweettoothvegan

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How to train your human

There must be a million websites, books, articles, and pamphlets about training dogs and cats and various pets… yet, the humans are the ones who need to be trained! Puppies may pee on your bed, but a puppy has never started a war. Nor do I don’t know any horses who have kidnapped children or set fire to anyone’s home.

To learn more about training humans, I took a trip to the Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, NJ. I met with a few dogs and cats who have faced some real ugly mugged humans, and asked what their advice would be to young pets training their humans. I got some very useful responses. Listen closely, you might learn a thing or two.

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I entered the green door because entering through a window seemed inconvenient and messy. I didn’t want to disturb the spiders who had just sat down for breakfast.

Once I got inside, the secretary immediately directed me towards the stairs. She said that’s where I’d find the “Cattery”. They had way too many kittens! Apparently, some seriously untrained humans didn’t know to get their pets neutered/spayed. Considering that many vets and mobile vans will do the surgery for fairly cheap and sometimes free, this just sounds lazy to me. But let’s see what the cats have to say about that.

The first cat I met was this little one:

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Clearly, she doesn’t mess around. She is a strict reinforcer of the rules. I learned from her that you must train your human with directness, and you can’t be too gentle with them. A harsh tone may be required. She explained that you have to catch your human when he/she is very comfortable and sleepy. Once they are settled in and having a good time petting your fur, you leap on their head, and stick your butt in their face. This will remind the human that you’re either in need of being fixed, or a sign of appreciation for having you fixed. If this doesn’t work, steal their socks. Never harm your human, but sometimes other types of punishment are necessary.

When I then heard some clattering around, I realized that there were two sibling kittens down below who were chanting in unison, “If you don’t need us, at least you can feed us!”

The two kittens, Dory and her sibling (who wishes to remain anonymous) refused to say much more than this chant. The cat in the next cage over explained that these two had been abandoned at the shelter after months of barely being cared for in their previous home. “Quite frankly, I think they just snapped. Big catnip users, but I didn’t tell you that.”

Here the two take a break from chanting so they can receive a few scratches. They still love human interaction, but are much less trusting of humans.

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As I passed them a second time, I heard one whisper, “Sure, if I jump on her lap, she better pet me… that’s just my way of showing her my power. She can’t resist me.”

Before leaving the Cattery, my last stop was to greet Draco. He doesn’t talk much anymore, nor does he do much training. However, in his youth, he would often travel the streets teaching other kittens how to train their humans. He was a celebrity in the concrete jungle. These days, he prefers to sit in his cage and watch kittens and his old comrades be brought in and out. It is said that Draco once loved humans and felt every single one could be trained and turned good.

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I’ll never know what these amber eyes have seen, nor what smells that pink nose has smelled. But without a doubt, Draco has seen some of the worse types of humans. Legend has it that he once was homed by a very grumpy husband who had no interest in cats. Draco was able to soften this man’s heart and sit beside him during basketball games. This changed when he had to surrender Draco due to his wife’s pregnancy. When Draco saw that his beloved human man would not admit his sadness upon leaving him behind at the shelter, Draco was forever hardened. He has not given up on finding a home, but he isn’t the same cat he once was.

As I left the room, Draco’s eyes didn’t move, they stared forward; never letting go of the memory of the man who once loved him and betrayed him.

I was then anxious to go visit the dogs! Dogs are typically a softer, more forgiving type. I expected joy, forgiveness, and infinite optimism. However, what I found instead was desperation and unease.

Entering the dog room, everyone wanted to be heard. Every dog felt they had tips and advice on training that would solve all the human problems of the world.

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I didn’t know where to begin. That is, until I saw Bunny. It is not common to come across a Pharaoh Hound, particularly at the shelter. As you can see in the lower left corner of this picture, I discreetly took a photo of this beautiful friend. I quickly learned that approaching dogs in cages will lead to much barking, some growling, and noisy tails thumping against metal.

Bunny had no comments, though, he just wanted me to leave him be. That is, unless I was going to walk, feed, or home him. Being that I could not provide any of these things, I went on to the next speaker.

Seides is another resident of the Humane Society. She’s a self-labeled artist who believes in changing the world through music. She has a very different approach from the other dogs.

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Seides is a 4 year old lab/pit mix. She was brought in after being tied up in front of the shelter with her brother Beamer. Nowadays she paces back and forth in her cage and sings. She has a story to tell and she wants the world to hear it.

After hearing many sad tales like Seides’, I was quite relieved to finally talk with two fellas for whom life has been equally tough, but they keep a smile on and pep in their step. They are Nilsito and Richard.

Nilsito was excited when I came over to talk to him. He was engaged and anxious to meet me. At 9 years old, he is 60 lbs. He’s a heavyweight champ full of muscle and a big heart! Just as I thought he was going to share some wisdom, he chose instead to do this:

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Some dogs just never grow up!

Richard, on the other hand, at only 2 years old, was much more at ease. He seemed comfortable discussing the difficult issues with me. I got a feeling from Richard that he was an old soul who had seen and been through enough to have something to offer.

It turned out, I was right. Richard taught me a lot, even just by looking into his eyes. He told me about his puppy days, about his life on the streets, and how lacking a home taught him more about humans than one would expect. He feels humans are much like stray animals, but they’ve been given weapons and power. This leads them to do things that they think will protect themselves and their loved ones from being vulnerable. He explained that humans want love from dogs and cats, but don’t think about the bigger picture, the consequences, and all the requirements…. He was happy being stray, but a part of him will always seek a lifelong human companion. Its in the blood of every dog, he postulates, even the ones who growl. They’re also just trying to protect themselves in a scary world. However, with proper human training, each and every dog can find themselves in the perfect home.Never give up, he told me, never.

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This response left me so stirred, that I felt it was a good time to leave. It was hard saying goodbye to all these incredible dogs and cats, but I had my own foster kittens to take home! I left the shelter with three month old kittens who had been abandoned on a boat! The pirate kittens are now safely in my home and await permanent homes. They are adventurous, lively, and very healthy. When I asked for any suggestions when it came to training humans, in unison they squeaked, “LOVE.”

For kittens, they sure are smart!

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All the dogs and cats in this post are available for adoption at the Liberty Humane Society in New Jersey. Please read about them and how to adopt/foster at: http://www.libertyhumane.org/     They are also always in need of volunteers!

Find out more about these lovely dogs at: DOGS

Learn more about these gorgeous cats at: CATS

 

Meet Mayhem

mayhem |ˈmāˌhem| noun

violent or damaging disorder; chaos: complete mayhem broke out.

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Remember that puppy I introduced you to a couple posts ago? His name is Mayhem. At a mere 10 weeks old, Mayhem does not cause mayhem at all. He is the most laid back puppy I’ve ever met. He’s a sweetheart. Mayhem is a rescue dog.

Hemmy was born to a female dog, presumably, about 2.5 months ago on a farm in Mississippi. He did nothing wrong, yet he and his 2 siblings were unwanted. We may never know why. As I say, their loss is our gain. They were then taken to the vet at 6 weeks old, given their necessary booster shots and checked out briefly, then sent up to good, old New York City to start their lives anew.

Not far from New York City, around the same time as this was all happening, I was at home debating whether I should start fostering again. I had taken a break because of travel and moving, but I was starting to get that foster itch. That feeling of something missing. Remembering all the dogs and cats of past, as well as seeing photos of all the new ones who need homes. The urge was too strong, I contacted the rescue I have worked with for years and told them I was ready to foster again. Holly DeRito, my puppy rescue hero got back to me very quickly to let me know that I could choose a pup from the site and have him by the following week.

Puppies aren’t like grocery items, you can’t just squeeze their heads to determine which will fit your lifestyle. For a new foster, knowing what you can and can’t do is very important. Sometimes you can’t predict things that will force you to hand over the pup to another foster, but we aim to avoid any problems like that. As a fairly experienced foster, I have a pretty good idea what I can handle, and what my own dog can handle. My dog, Lolita Lollipop Unicorn (also known as Lolly) has been very patient, but can also only handle so much…. Taking into consideration other pets, family members, housing, costs, space, time, and patience, many people can foster a young puppy. Other people require an older dog who is already housetrained. If you live in a building, you have to know what your landlord, contracts, and neighbours will put up with. Remember, many dogs have separation anxiety, this means they may bark, whimper, and scratch if you’re not nearby. You have to prepare for messes, a little destruction, and having to be home enough throughout the day to walk, feed, and love your dog. Health conditions do come up, training may cost you, treats and toys, and various other necessities depending on the animal.  Are you traveling? Moving? Otherwise tied up? Maybe it’s not a good time to foster/adopt. If you have someone willing to dog sit, all the better! Just keep in mind, then that person also has to fulfill all the temporary housing requirements.

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Lolly is weary of this little guy (Ducky, 2015)

Yeah, fostering and adopting is a commitment. There’s a lot to keep in mind. Would I say it’s HARD, though? Or unpleasant? Nope. Because I love the animals I foster. I love the whole experience. Saving a puppy or kitten who barely had a chance is one of the most fun, exciting, and kind things you can do! It’s really more of a compromise: if you’re willing to do your part, out of it you get a best friend.

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Hand…touching hand…. (Taffy, 2015)

If anyone has convinced you that rescue dogs are ugly, mean, stupid, sickly, or otherwise undesirable, they too have been sadly misinformed. Typically, the opposite is true. An adopter once told me, “We bought two purebred pugs once and both got very sick due to inbreeding. We’re only rescuing mutts from now on!”

The number of times I’ve heard this same story is astounding. Unfortunately, it’s absolutely true. When siblings and cousins and distant relatives are forced to mate, they create unhealthy and abnormal babies. As to the other rumours….

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And MEAN??

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about unhealthy?

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Eh, maybe. But I’m willing to look past it

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Doc, Hero, and Bella (2013)

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Dexter and Bug (2012)

If you’re interested in fostering or adopting, please do your research. This is a long, long commitment and lots of responsibility. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me or your local dog rescue.

Click the ‘Follow’ button below to tune in for more animal and adoption stories, tips, and information!

Loving Animals 101

We’ve all heard the excuses as to why people give their animal up: “My kid’s allergic; my husband’s too busy; my mom has anger issues; my father was never around; my back hurts; my shoes are too tight; my fingers are shaped funny; and I’m thirsty….”

Others go out and buy pets from breeders because their stupid kids won’t shut up. Having been that stupid kid, I don’t blame them. However, when you go into someone’s home or store and buy a cat or dog, you’re not being a good animal-lover! Bad, animal-lover, bad!

Let’s go over the reasons why you are making a mistake. You can add these to the list of reasons you hate yourself.

1- You know those ‘papers’ every breeder brags about? The ones that ensure your dog is purebred and a little racist against other dog breeds? Well, many breeders fake those ‘papers’ That’s right, kids! Your $2,000 and 2 lb. “toy” shih tzu puppy may grow up to be a 150 lb. boar. No idea. You have NO idea.

2- Natural selection, it’s a thing. A very real and necessary thing. Darwin was a smart guy, wouldn’t you agree? He spoke about the weaker traits of animals (i.e. humans, llamas, pterodactyls…) being eradicated through natural section. This means, animals mate with whatever other animal of its species that will provide the healthiest and most beneficial traits. Basically, they don’t breed with their siblings or cousins (which will cause defects) nor do they breed with animals with traits that will harm their kin. This is unlike breeders, who are more than happy to breed a brother and sister because the family that mates together, makes dirty blood money together!

You know those sweet little features that make *your* pet special? Shorter legs, flatter faces, bigger wrinkles, smaller skulls…? These are all traits that dog and cat breeders emphasize because they make for more desirable appearances. However, these traits also harm the animal’s physical and mental well-being. Am I saying that health and happiness of your pet is more important than appearance? Yes, yes I am. Besides, mutts are super cute without being edited!

Now, let’s talk about adoption. Adoption is good. We like adoption. Here are some statistics, because we’re super smart and stuff:

  • Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  • Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats
  • Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner.
  • Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and less than 5% of cats who came in as strays are returned to their owners.
    • It is impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States; estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.(**Stats provided by the ASPCA**)

So, you see, adoption is necessary. Otherwise, millions of cutie patootie animals are killed rather than being snuggled and cuddled and baby-talked to by you!

Here are some of the faces of animals I’ve fostered and re-homed throughout the years

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new home

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Spoiler alert: None of these animals are ugly, vicious, or hopeless.

Next time you’re at Puppy Heaven or Cats ‘R’ Us, think of these faces and the millions of other fuzzy faces who just want to find a home with soft pillows and warm hearts.