Archive for September, 2009

My First Dog Adoption!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 30th, 2009 by katie – Be the first to comment

Today was a gorgeous, cool, early fall day and I spent three hours at BARCS this afternoon walking dogs and doing a little escorting. When I got there, none of the dogs had been walked today, but by the time I left, and with the help of one other volunteer, we got to just about every dog before close. Majesty was still there, barking, and Uriel, the excitable black and white pittie girl I love. I also walked a really fun dog named Joker, who was all white except for a black smear across one side of her mouth, a black spot on top of her head, and one black ear. Joker was a perfect name for her! She was super cute.

It seemed like there weren’t as many kennel staff doing escorting today, so I decided to help out with that. My first group was a young couple interested in a fully grown pit bull on the smaller side. They were interested in a couple of dogs and we ended up taking out a sweet male pit bull named King. King was all brindle with black and almost yellowish stripes. He had a big head and square shoulders but was on the smaller side for pit bulls. He had a great classic pit bull look to him. When we got outside he was very excited at first and very interested in the other dogs but after a while he calmed down. They understood that with some training, he would learn not to jump up and give kisses and he could also learn to sit. It was great to interact with people who understood this! I spent about 30 minutes with them outside with King and they saw that he was able to calm down and turn into a cuddle bug. I was so glad when they decided to adopt him! I think he’s going to a great home.

The next group I escorted said they were interested in small fluffy dogs. I explained that we do get dogs like that but that they are always adopted really fast, so it’s worth checking in often and/or looking at other shelters. The father was interested in one of the smaller pit bulls, Darla, but the mom and daughter were afraid of her and the daughter even started crying! This was not the right move for them I don’t think. The father really wanted her to have a puppy she could grow with, but the daughter announced that she wanted a cat… so I think they’ll have some things to discuss and then hopefully come back soon.

But all in all it was a good day! I am just really thrilled that I helped King to be adopted :-)

Monday dog walking report

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29th, 2009 by katie – Be the first to comment

Yesterday I finished up in lab early so I stopped by BARCS in the afternoon. It seems like there are usually at least a few volunteers there on Mondays so I try to go in the middle of the week, but I knew that Les wasn’t going to be there so I decided to head on over.  I was able to walk a bunch of dogs and spend a fair amount of time with each of them so that was nice. It was surprisingly busy for a Monday afternoon, I thought, but then again BARCS is always busy. There were plenty of kennel staff doing escorts, so I thought I could be most helpful by just sticking to dog walking. There were plenty of people coming through to look at the dogs, so that was fun to see.

One very memorable dog was named Hubba Bubba. He was a young mastiff mix that was absolutely huge. He was super dopey and lumbered around but he was very sweet and friendly. He already had an “adoption pending” sign; otherwise I think I would have had to take him home!

The first dog I walked was called Majesty. He is a tall, slim black pit bull who barks loudly whenever someone comes into the room. He’s very gentle and well behaved, though, so there’s not much behind that bark except to say hello and get attention. He has a “tech favorite” card on his kennel. While I was walking him we got lots of compliments and some of the construction workers who were renovating the kennel spaces started chatting us up. Here is a picture of Majesty from the BARCS website:


Another dog I encountered was named Niko. Niko has a beautiful, deep gray (almost purple) short coat and a big boxy pit bull head. Unfortunately, Niko had basically trashed his kennel. His platform bed was turned upside down, his food bowls were tossed everywhere, and his face was crusted up with poop and slobber which was smeared all over everything. I took  him out of his kennel and out into the hall and what did he do but pee right there in the hallway. So I had to put him back in the kennel and go get a mop. By the time I got back to him, he was shaking his food bowl around and wouldn’t come to me at the door. He had an adoption card on his kennel, so hopefully someone willcome and get him soon and take him home, clean him up, and give him some exercise and attention.

I also walked a couple little cuties. One little dog was very timid and kept trying to climb up me. This was slightly painful because his nails were quite long, but when I pushed him down he sat down and just wanted to be reassured. Another sweetie was named Boxer. Boxer looks like a pit/boxer mix to me and is small and dark brindle. He was super cute and cuddly. Every time he smelled something interesting he went into a play bow to smell it.

Another funny-named dog I walked was called Parrot. Parrot is a broad shouldered, powerful pitbull but he is very well behaved. He’s all tan, and doesn’t do anything parrot-like that I could see, so I’m not sure what prompted someone to call him Parrot.

I left just before it started to rain with only a few more dogs left to walk, so I felt pretty good. I can’t go over there this afternoon because I’m babysitting but I’ll try to get back later in the week.

Book Reviews

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29th, 2009 by katie – Be the first to comment

A little over a month ago my mom sent me an article from the Chicago Tribune reviewing dog books. I was surprised that the author of the article, Judy Leathers, greatly disliked several books that I have really enjoyed. For example, she said that she didn’t understand all the hype about Marley and Me, and she really hated on The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein.

I read The Art of Racing in the Rain and really enjoyed it. It’s not the greatest piece of literary work ever, but it’s a great story and I couldn’t put it down. It’s written from the dog’s “point of view” as though he is speaking as the author. Leathers claims that this is just terrible because no dog would ever wish to be human, or want to have a human soul. I don’t think that was what the main message of the book was, though. I guess I just realize that dogs are not humans, and that we often personify them too much, but at the same time, that is what we, the human race, has selected for over thousands of years of breeding…  This is a story that makes you think and it is an easy read. Yes, it requires some suspension of disbelief, but it is a touching, memorable story.

I didn’t recognize most of the books on her list of favorites, so I thought I’d give them a chance and see what her fuss was all about. I turned out to be very disappointed, which is why I am writing this post!

One of the books she listed was Old Yeller, but I already know the story so I decided to pass. I think she also listed Where the Red Fern Grows and Big Red, both of which I enjoyed reading in middle school but I was hoping for something more at the adult level.

I decided to try three of her recommendations:

Lad: A Dog, by Albert Payson Terhune

A Good Dog: the Story of Orson, Who Changed my Life, by Jon Katz

Izzy and Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and me, also by Jon Katz

First I read Lad: A Dog. I don’t really know how else to put it – I was bored. In a way the book is written from the dog’s point of view, but not as narrator, which to me just left out any sort of connection to the story or characters. I saw where the author glorified the dog’s intellectual capacity, and described the majestic beauty and intelligence of Collies, a few times, but that was about all.  The stories were simple, I guess more along the lines of children’s classics in my opinion, although I think most kids today would even more bored by this book than I was. It was written in 1919 so the writing style is very different. I definitely wasn’t wowed, but I chalked it up to this being a “classic” and therefore shifted my expectations a little.

So I gave Jon Katz a try. This was where I was really disappointed. I’m not completely finished with Izzy and Lenore yet but I’m pretty confident in my assessment.  His books are supposed to be about the connection between a man and his dogs, but I found it severely lacking in anything new or exciting, let alone intellectual stimulation. There are some passingly interesting stories in these books, like how he sets up his farm and how he acquires various animals, but the stories fall flat because he doesn’t develop any of theses stories beyond just reporting that they happened. It’s as though he keeps setting us up for something really profound, but all he says is that he felt a connection, the dog meant so much to him, etc. without actually describing his feelings anywhere beyond that. It was very disappointing!

What really bugged me was that in A Good Dog, Orson, the main dog character is too much for Katz to handle and he ends up having him euthanized because of his behavior problems. Katz is convinced that he is a deeply troubled dog, and that there’s nothing he can do to help him. He takes the dog to see holistic vets to do acupuncture and to an animal shaman who tells him that Orson’s soul has broken into pieces and he needs to try to collect all the parts to make him whole again. Katz sort of beats around the bush by saying that he doesn’t really buy into the alternative medicine stuff, but then he doesn’t take it any farther than that. He just continues to pay for the services hoping something will happen, I guess. I’m just frustrated with Katz’s lack of action directly with his own dog. He drives around on his farm in an ATV, but doesn’t really give Orson the mental or physical exercise a border collie really needs.

I kept thinking that we were eventually going to be brought into something exciting, but it never happened. We’re missing any true connection to him and his thoughts, his family is basically absent from the story, and we only hear mundane facts about his hired help. Even the dogs barely get any real character development; it just reads more like a book report.

All I was left with after reading these books was the impression that this is a very troubled man who never quite tapped into or appreciated the true “dog” in his dogs. I’m also not happy about his implied opinion of rescue dogs; that they are second hand and that it’s best to get a good dog from a good breeder.

Katz’s books didn’t hit home with me at all, so I have to say that I’m not a fan. Online reviews at say that A Dog Year is much better, so I may give that one a try if I’m not completely discouraged after finishing Izzy and Lenore. We’ll see.

Another book that’s been recommended elsewhere is Merle’s Door: Lessons From a Freethinking Dog. Maybe I’ll give that one a try as well.

Anyone else have suggestions?

BARCStoberfest 2009 is coming up!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 25th, 2009 by katie – Be the first to comment

2009 barcstoberfest logo.inddimage001



Join BARCS in the Park - Patterson Park - for BARCStoberfest on Saturday Oct. 17th!

BALTIMORE, MD – The Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS) will host the 5th annual BARCStoberfest including the “Strut Your Mutt” Walk on Saturday October 17th in Patterson Park (corner of Eastern & Linwood Streets) from 11a.m. to 4p.m.

A Day of Fun for Pets and their Families!

The 5th annual fundraiser for BARCS is a festival for animal lovers of all ages and is the canine social event of the year! The event is a fun-filled Saturday for the whole community (and their pets!) that helps to raise awareness and much needed funds for the 12,000 animals BARCS takes in each year. There is something for everyone at BARCStoberfest! Participants will enjoy a silent auction, pet costume contests, local artists & vendors, adoptable pets, animal health & welfare experts, pet demos, and more!

Move Your Paws for a Cause!

The Strut Your Mutt Walk will begin at noon and will take participants on a walk around beautiful Patterson Park. Registration the day of the event begins at 11am. Pre-registration with a donation of $40 is required to guarantee a t-shirt and can be done online Registration will also be accepted on the day of the event, but t-shirts are limited at the event so people are strongly encouraged to pre-register. The walker who raises the most money for the shelter’s animals will win the Grand Prize – a Dell laptop valued at $500!

For more information, visit or call 410-396-4695.  BARCStoberfest is sponsored by Baltimore City Mayor Sheila Dixon.

What: BARCStoberfest Festival, “Strut Your Mutt” Walk, and Silent Auction
Where: Patterson Park, Corner of Eastern & Linwood Streets
When: Saturday, October 17th (Rain Date is scheduled for 10/18)
Time: 11am-4pm; the Walk will run from Noon-3pm

About BARCS:

The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc. (BARCS), is a non-profit organization created in 2005 and is the largest animal shelter in the Baltimore-Annapolis area.  We work in conjunction with the Baltimore City Bureau of Animal Control.  Together our mission is to protect animals from neglect, abuse and exploitation, to advocate their interests and welfare, and to inspire awareness and compassion for all living things.  For additional information, please visit BARCS online at

The Michelson Prize & Grants in Reproductive Biology

Posted in Uncategorized on September 25th, 2009 by katie – Be the first to comment

Taken from the Found Animals website:

Why is non-surgical sterilization important?

Each year 6-8 million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters and 3-4 million are euthanized.  The majority of shelter animals euthanized are healthy, adoptable pets, put down for no reason other than the lack of a home.  The problem of pet overpopulation is even more severe in developing nations where minimal resources are dedicated to controlling the animal population and the welfare of homeless animals.

Animal welfare experts have long recognized sterilization as a key solution in the fight against pet overpopulation.  Surgical spay/neuter procedures are the current standard for sterilizing cats and dogs, but are not an ideal approach.  These procedures are quite safe and effective, but require general anesthesia and an adequately equipped surgical facility.  These components create obstacles including high costs, transportation of animals and inherent health risks involved with surgery.

A single dose, non-surgical sterilant that could be administered in the field at a reasonable cost would be an ideal solution.  Such a product would save lives and end suffering for millions of companion animals worldwide.

What is the rationale for the Michelson Prize and Grants in Reproductive Biology?
Animal health researchers have pursued pet contraceptives and non-surgical sterilants for years, but a breakthrough product has yet to emerge.  Meanwhile, basic biology research has surged forward and many new technologies are on the horizon.

By offering the Michelson Prize in Reproductive Biology, Found Animals hopes to encourage researchers from a variety of fields to take on the challenge of non-surgical sterilization for dogs and cats.   By incentivizing scientists who may have been unaware of the issue of pet overpopulation to get involved, Found Animals hopes an innovative solution will come to light quickly.

The Foundation recognizes the research required to develop and test pharmaceuticals takes time and money; and many interested parties may not have access to the resources needed to initiate and maintain this research.  For that reason, Found Animals is also offering the companion Michelson Grants in Reproductive Biology which will provide funding for promising research in pursuit of non-surgical sterilization technology.


See also an article in Science Magazine: “A Cure for Euthanasia?” (link)

Tuesday Afternoon Dog Walking Report: I get nipped

Posted in Uncategorized on September 23rd, 2009 by katie – 1 Comment

I stopped by BARCS yesterday after lab and walked a lot of dogs, many of whom are currently listed on the BARCS website. I was pleased to see that there were several other volunteers there so I was able to focus on dog walking and finish up the dogs that hadn’t been out that day.

I took this lovely lady, Queen, into the dog runs and she ran up and down the fence with another cute dog that looks a lot like her.
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I also walked Buster, who has one sky blue eye and one brown eye. He pooped six times! That is a record for me. I was unprepared as far as plastic bags so I had to remember where they all were and go back and get them. He seemed quite relieved after that.
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Hershey was excited to go out, and he pulled me around with his nose in the ground. I think he looks like a teddy bear.
Screen shot 2009-09-23 at 10.27.21 AM

Unfortunately the excitement level of a couple of dogs escalated to the point that they were jumping up on me and nipping. This was the first time I’ve had this happen to me, although I’ve been expecting some dogs to test me like this. One dog, Lorenzo, I’ve walked before and never had a problem. But he got really riled up and jumped all the way up to my armpit and nipped at my arm. I was not pleased, but I was able to get control of the situation and bring him back inside. He’s a good boy but I think he just really needed to burn off some steam. Here he is looking cute:
Screen shot 2009-09-23 at 10.27.35 AM

I also met an adorable 10 month old named Prescott. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a photo yet but I’ll keep checking to see if it’s been updated. His coat was very unique – it was a bright orange and black brindle that made him look kind of like a tiger. he had white on his face and all four paws. And he had kind of long ears for a pitbull mix. He was sooo cute and sweet. After I got him outside he just stopped and wanted to snuggle. I crouched down and he rested his chin on my thigh, all the while his white tipped tail was wagging. I decided to take him over to the picnic table and just have a little cuddle session. He was precious. I’d take him home in a second!


Posted in Uncategorized on September 21st, 2009 by katie – 1 Comment

I like this guy a lot. He is always so calm and mellow and just likes to chill whenever I take him out. He’s about four years old and was turned into the shelter because his owner was deployed with the military. I keep hoping that he will be adopted! The father in the first family I escorted stopped to consider Zeus, but turned away and I was so disappointed. I really hope that now that he’s on the BARCS website he’ll get more visibility and be able to go home soon.

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My First Escorting Experience

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17th, 2009 by katie – Be the first to comment

I stopped by BARCS for about an hour after lab yesterday evening and got to try escorting potential adopters for the first time. I was pretty nervous after some of the stories I heard at the training but I decided I’d give it a shot on a weekday evening. I ended up escorting twice, and walked dogs in between.

The first group was an middle age/older couple and their daughter who was about my age. Sadly, they didn’t see any dogs that they were interested in, although the dad did linger for a while as though he was considering a couple dogs that I really like. I tried not to push it too much, but offered up information about the dogs and let them know that I liked them and how they handled on the leash. Still, he shook his head when I asked if he wanted to take either of them out. In the end it came out that the mom and daughter were interested in a smaller dog and I assured them that we do get small dogs a lot but they are adopted really fast, so check back often since we receive between 30 and 50 animals a day.

Next was a young woman who totally made my week. She was not there to adopt a dog, but instead wanted to give a donation specifically in the name of two dogs that she had helped rescue a few days before. Apparently she had reported on two dogs that were chained outside on a deck above her apartment 24/7. She had been tossing food up to them to try and help but they were scared and emaciated. Finally Animal Control was able to get to them and they are now at BARCS. She was told that she needed to identify the dogs for her donation, so I led her back to go through the kennels and see if we could find them. Sure enough, we found them in separate rooms looking super scared and very very skinny (both had “caution: do not touch” signs on their kennels). Not sure what will become of those poor little guys… but I was so glad that she was able to help get them out of that situation. Then on top of it, since she couldn’t adopt them, she wanted to give a donation to help them. So awesome :-)

Another One of My Babies Goes to the MD SPCA

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17th, 2009 by katie – 1 Comment

I noticed that another one of my favorites, Sasha, was gone yesterday when I stopped by BARCS after lab. Sasha is a lot of fun and always picked up a stick to carry around when I took her out for a walk. She also met my mom when she came to visit and just couldn’t stop wiggling. Now she’s at MD SPCA:

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I Totally Called This…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17th, 2009 by katie – Be the first to comment

Jon Gosselin Sends His Dogs Back to Breeder

I remember the episode in which they got the German Shepherds, and I remember Kate telling the kids that the breeder said that the dogs could be returned at any time. At the time, she was using it as a threat to make the kids behave, but I thought yeah right I’ll be surprised if these dogs last a year, if that. Little did I know how out of control things would get for that family, but I’m glad that at least the dogs are in better hands now!