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Thursday, November 30, 2006

RRUS Adoptions

I forgot to add pictures to my post.
This is Curtis (aka Mr. Curtis because he looks like an old soul), Mark and Morgan

This is the 8 hour trip home from Evelyn's. That's Curtis butt hugging Morgan on their first date.

This is the second date.

Ridge Tales of Morgan and Curtis

Hello everyone. I'm new to RRUS by way of Bob, Evelyn and of course Curtis. Mr. Curtis joined our family 2 weeks ago when we made the 8 hour trip to meet him at Evelyn's. I can't really say who picked who, but when Evelyn's pack rushed to greet us, Curtis called dibs on us. When we later brought our 3 year old Ridgeback, Morgan, in to meet him, he called dibs on her too and spent most of the time just hanging out with us. We were nervous about how Curtis would handle the long trip home with strange people and a strange dog, but our worries were comforted when 2 minutes into the trip Mr. Curtis was sound asleep with his head resting on Morgan's rump. When we finally arrived home he jumped out of the car with his tail wagging (we call it his helicopter tail) and graciously greeted the rest of the family. He proceeded to make himself right at home. He loves everyone he meets, except for Annie the cat (she's still hiding out behind the safety of a baby gate), but we're working on that. He's just a happy go lucky, mellow guy. Such a joy compared to Morgan's homecoming. I guess I should explain that and what brought us to Mr. Curtis. This may take awhile...When Mark was a bachelor he had a RR/Boxer puppy named Ezzie. The key words here are bachelor and get the picture. When Mark and I started dating, Ezzie was 25 pounds over weight and the only thing Mark had trained her to do was sing when she heard music. Not a pretty picture when you're in a compact car with the radio on. She was sweet but totally out of control. It took me about a year to teach her manners and she ended up being a wonderful dog and friend to the two children who came along. She developed stomach cancer at 9 years of age and we made the very difficult decision to end her pain. When our third child turned 3, we decided it was time to add another RR to our lives. We found our Codie through a reputable breeder and brought her home at 8 weeks of age. She was a great dog who loved everyone. When someone rang the doorbell, she would grab a toy first and then greet the person as if they were there just to play with her (very unridgeback like). We lost Codie at the age of 12 almost 2 years ago. One morning she just collapsed and within 15 minutes she took her last breath with me and 2 of her kids with her. After grieving, we started to miss that love only a dog can give you and we started discussing another dog. We didn't really want to go through the whole puppyhood thing so we contacted the breeder we got Codie from and inquired if she had any older dogs in need of a home. Ironically she had Morgan, a 3 year old liver nose female who she was only willing to adopt to someone she knew. She had Morgan since she was born and had her pegged for a lure coursing career. Morgan had other ideas like, "You want me to chase a plastic bag for what?", "Well, maybe if you smeared some peanut butter on it, I might think about it." So, this is how Morgan came to live with us 8 months ago. It has not been an easy ride with her. She was used to being with 8 other dogs and one woman, so her social skills are limited. She takes a very long time to trust new people so the past 8 months have been spent just socializing her and introducing her to new situations. She handles things pretty well except in her home. The doorbell sets her off and if it is someone she doesn't know the barking and growling begins (so rude). We are still trying to convince her that she does not need to take the job of protector so seriously and that we have things under control. It's all fear based from the lack of socialization so I know it will take some time. There has been much improvement, but they are little steps. She attached herself to me right from the start (very liver nose like) and the kids and Mark take back seat to me with her. So the new family dog turned out to be my shadow who waits outside the bathroom door for me. This is where Curtis comes into the picture. We started talking about adding another dog to the that would actually like the rest of the family members. I contacted RRUS and that is how Mr. Curtis has come into our lives. We knew the new dog would have to have a temperament that would balance Morgan out and Curtis certainly fits that criteria. He is just a happy guy who loves everyone. Very gentle and mild mannered. He's not the most handsome of Ridgebacks with his sway back, short legs, scarred ears and black face which's just scary looking. Morgan comes from good stock (her brother is the #1 lure courser in the USA and she comes from a long line of conformation winners). Curtis is the Beast to Morgan's Beauty, but we couldn't have asked for a sweeter guy. He's had a good effect on Morgan in the short time he's been here. He will actually correct her when she barks and growls at visitors. he gently mouths her snout as a Mother dog would do to her pup and when he is soaking up all the attention, Morgan sees she's missing out and noses her way in for a pat. So, things are good and Mr. Curtis will start his training for Therapy work on Dec. 28 and Morgan will remain my Therapy Dog. Wish us luck.

The Lovernose I've Looked For - But in Need of Pina Coladas

Hi! Meet Cooper. Cooperopolis. Super DUPER Cooper. Cooooooo Per. Coop. or COOPER NO! LOL. He is a big puppy who got off to a rough start - mostly because his adopter (me) knew nothing about crating a dog (other than I did not like it). Fortunately, both Cooper and my opinion have changed for the better and as you can see, we are now both enjoying a little quiet time (note the open door - YAY!). Thanks, Beth and Kathy! Sabu, our 9-year old rescue Ridgeback also thanks you for Crating Cooper. More on that later....

Cooper joined our family of three 2-leggeds, two 4-leggeds and one wingnut about a month ago. My kids (Izzi 6 and Zeke 9) adore him - except when he puts his mouth around their bellys, arms or legs and starts to gnaw - at which point they either grab for one of his twenty bones scattered around the house and replace their body part with that - or they grasp his mouth, tell him "Cooper No!" and when they get away, grab for a bone to replace a body part. Any ideas? He is just all puppy - chews on everything - including my great grandmother's dining room table and chairs (head level when standing - may as well keep chewing, eh? ...and head level when lying down whipping your big ole head and the bone around). Help!

I'm enjoying all the posts and pictures. It's fun to share similar challenges - and joys!

It was FATE

We lost Rex, our 7 year old Ridgeback to cancer. The disease spread very fast and in spite of several months of treatment the doctors were not able to put the cancer into remission. We were devastated when he passed. He was a wonderful dog.I love the breed but I could not bear the thought of having another Ridgeback. I thought that the new face would always remind me of Rex- in a sad way. So I went to a dog show to check out breeders. One dog that I had in mind was an Australian Shepard. After researching I decided that I could not live with the long hair and shedding. I thought our lifestyle was better suited for a short hair dog.I decided to adopt a dog rather then go for another purebred. At the bred show I was given the link the RRUS site. I went there and chatted with one of the representatives and found out that there was one puppy left for adoption. When I saw his face I knew he was my dog.His mom was a Ridgeback, dad an Australian Shepard and he had a single coat - short hair. His name - Kismet. It was fate.We have had him for 2 years now and he is a wonderful dog. Smart, Kind, Loving. We couldnt ask for a better dog. I would adopt again and again. We are so very lucky to have him.He is about 80pounds, white with a brown and black mask. No ridge. But when he gets excited the hair along his spine sticks straight up in the air.THANK YOU RRUS for saving the Mother and her litter of pups. We have a fabulous dog.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bacari's Scary Moment

We moved over the Thanksgiving weekend. So we have been in our new home for only a few short days. Everything was going smoothly transitioning the dogs to the new place until this afternoon. Bacari bolted (since he is a puppy mill rescue, he has this tendency but has not done this in months!). He took off running in a neighborhood he (and we) are unfamilar w/. Not only do we not know our way around, the neighbors told us that large farms, creeks and acres of woods surround out seemingly surburban "hood."

We walked the streets, Drove the streets, talked to anyone who will listen (instructing them- please don't approach him- just call us.) Well having been here only 2 days and not have been formally introduced to anyone, a few of our neighbors stepped up to search- getting in their cars to drive around looking for the B Man.

The sun started to set- I knew that if it dropped w/ no Bacari, our chances of finding him lessened signficantly. I am in tears, shaking, and acting like a complete basketcase. Acting, no not acting- I was a complete basket case.

Then someone started honking- he'd been spotted- running back up the street. I ran toward him and stopped to let him come to me. NOPE- he ran right past me. Still headed toward the house, I was hopeful he'd go back home. Wrong Again- just kept running. I knew I had to keep him in my sight. Jumped in the car and trailed him. It was then that I simply rolled down the window and asked him if he was ready to go home. I guess he was- he stopped and hopped in the car.

We are both tired and he has some scrapes and a paw pad injury but we are warm and cozy in the house. He w/ his bone and I w/ my blanket, curled up on the couch.

I write this so people know that life w/ a rescue dog is a wonderful experience, but not always a walk in the park, sometimes it a chase through the woods. I love Bacari and the thought of life w/out him is not one I am ready to face. He is a gem and has so much to offer. BUT he has baggage- some of which he'll carry for life. It is my job to protect him- today I failed, but was offered a second chance, a Do-Over, a Mulligan(not a golfer but I think that is what it is called) if you will. I have to remember (as do we all) that these dogs may blossom and grow but we must always remember their past. Bacari is a flight risk- he always has been and today proves he always will be. Does that mean we don't do anything w/ him?- NO WAY!! Just means I am going to be more careful and not let myself get too comfortable and put him in a situation that could potentially be bad.

And another way to ease my mind- so if someone has a direct line to Santa, please let him know- I would like a fence for Christmas.

Amanda and Bacari (thankfully!!)

Tori would like to......

wish everyone a Belated Happy Thanksgiving! (I was mean and wouldn't let her near the computer...) She also didn't get any turkey or stuffing since I went out for Thanksgiving Dinner...
But this is how she would have looked if she had had Thanksgiving Dinner....

I hope you and all your pups had a great holiday!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lucy and her anxiety

Here's a picture of my liver nosed girl, sunning herself on the back deck. Since her eyes are closed I think she needs a pair of shades. : - )

I'd like to thank everyone for the comments and advice of Lucy's separation anxiety. She always gets a treat for going in her crate but I haven't tried to give her a treat if she is left to roam. I have calming treats and phermones which seem to help sometimes. Some days she is fine and others she's not. I will also check out the book recommended and keep everyone posted. Thanks again.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Our Beautiful Black Ridgie


We are new to the wonderful world of Ridgebacks and our 2 year old black wonderdog ... yes, black (mom or dad was a lab) is teaching us everything we need to know.

Annabelle was delivered to us three months ago from a wonderful RRUS foster home. This is our first experience with a rescue dog. We knew when we started the application process that we were venturing into unknown territory but after seeing Belle and her sister on the RRUS website there was no turning back.

Upon her arrival Belle glued herself to my side and rarely leaves it. She is fantastic with my three kids, especially the two year old toddler and plays really well with my old lab. She recently completed her first obedience class with flying colors.
She is loving, athletic and obedient.

Now, all of this sounds like a Walt Disney movie but let me tell you about the few chapters that Stephen King could have written. Our beautiful Belle had a little baggage.. baggage that wouldn't fit in the "overhead compartment". Baggage that transformed her from "Benji" into "Kujo" each time a certain person appeared. Not only when he he appeared. More like every time he moved... sniffed... coughed or even blinked. Unfortunately I was married to this particular person... and I
rather enjoyed his company.

Belle's debilitating fear of my husband manifested itself with defensive barking, urinating on the spot in terror, and shaking. It "maxed" out one afternoon with a leap from the car window and ensuing hot pursuit through a four way intersection. My patient, dog loving husband was at his ropes end by the time he got home with the now cold pizza.. not to mention the car which was covered with "nervous poop".

Belle has made fantastic progress with her one "challenge". We have been able to work through this with time, a great behaviorist, and unending support from the members of RRUS. Belle has become everything we were hoping for in a new canine family member.

With her new confidence her appetite has grown and her stomach is now the happy owner of one jar of peanut butter ( it was lonely sitting on the counter and the lid came off so easily), a batch of chocolate chip cookies ( they were cooling of anyway) and an apple (awww, the bowl was so full who would miss just one).

Annabelle is at this time not unlike my human two year old. She is trusting, playful and curious. If she could talk I think she would say, " I am smart, I am strong... challenge me ".

We love her so much and look forward to all the other things she will teach us about dogs that we thought we knew, but really didn't.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pic of Jafari the wonder dog

Hey, I think I figured out how to post pix... here is one of Jafari at his birthday party (while still in foster care back in March 2005). He turned SIX... As you can see he was quite intent on the "bunny" gift he received!! If memory serves me, the "bunny" was minus one ear by the time he had his way with it in his forever home shortly thereafter... but as one would expect from a super dogmom, Jaf's mom reported that she sewed it back on for another round of play!!


My husband and I adopted Lucy in January of 2006. We had been talking about getting a dog for a long time and when I saw a Ridgie at a dog show I fell in love. I immediately began researching the breed and when we agreed to get a dog I found RRUS. A dog named Xena piqued my interest on the website so I applied and found out that she was already adopted but when I spoke to Evelyn she told me she just got a surrender into her foster home. That surrender was a liver nosed girl about 3 years old named Lucy.

Lucy still needed to go through her trial at the foster home but I was optimistic. Evelyn and I kept in touch and when she was finally up on the website and I got to see her I knew I wanted her. Everyone I knew had to go online and see the dog we wanted to bring home. Then we made plans for the trip from New York to Tennessee. It was a long ride there but well worth it. I'll never forget arriving at Evelyn's house and seeing all those ridgie heads at the front window. Twenty four hours after arriving in Tennessee we were on our way home with Lucy in tow.

From the moment we arrived home Lucy was attached to my hip. Anywhere I go she follows. She was given up by her original owners as a problem dog but has been nothing but a perfect lady with us. When we took our obedience class the instructor wondered why we were there. The only slight issue we have with her is separation anxiety. She does not like to be alone. Since I work part time I am often home with her. She is crated if we are gone for a while but short trips she roams free. She shakes and her teeth chatter when she knows we are leaving. We don't encourage the behavior and come and go like it means nothing but she is still uneasy when we get back home. Any suggestions from other owners would be helpful since as I understand this is typical of the breed.

Since I've babbled and bragged enough about my girl I'll leave it for now. More later : - )

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


My name is Michelle and I adopted Mack from rrus about a year ago. He came from a puppymill and has had some of the issues that dogs without good socializaton skills have. He was 6 months old when he came to me so for the most part he is pretty social. He likes people. He doesn't like going places by himself, without another dog. He hasn't figured out to tell me that he needs to go outside so I have to monitor him and get him out on a regular basis. He will wake me up at night to go outside but during the day he won't tell me. Mack has a bad heart. He had a bad heart murmur when we got him and that's why he ended up coming to me to be fostered. His first echocardiogram showed an aortic and pulmonic stenosis (the vessels leading from the heart) and left ventricular hypertrophy (the chamber that pumps the blood from the heart was enlarged because it has to work so hard against the aortic stenosis (too small of a tube) but they couldn't give me a prognosis with tat echo so when he was 18 months of age we redid it and the prognosis was bad. His heart was much worse than it was before. Mack will be 2 next month. He has no symptoms and runs and plays. He is a happy boy and I hope he stays that way until the end. He plays with the other dogs even they cranky old fart when he gets it in his head to play. Mack does well with other dogs. Most dogs don't want to play with the cranky old fart because he plays too rough. When Mack first got here he just sat and watched him until he figured out he was just playing and then he joined in and played with him. Pretty perceptive for a puppy.
Michelle, Scout, Safari, Mack and Cheese

Monday, November 13, 2006

The B-Man

Oh where do I start? I have always been interested in Ridgebacks since high school. I knew one day I wanted one. Well as life would have it- I got my chance. My dog walker/pet sitter mentioned that one of her clients was a rescuer for Ridgebacks. Having been dedicated to rescue for a few years, I could not imagine anything but a rescue dog. So I contacted Evelyn- went through the process from application to approval. I was selected to adopt Bacari. A 2 1/2 year old male Ridgeback who was rescued from a puppy mill. He had come into rescue completely scared of everything. Evelyn, his foster mom, worked wonders w/ him and he was coming along nicely. I was so blinded by the idea of finally owning a Ridgeback that I looked over the basketcase I brought home.

Any little thing sent this HUGE dog running into his crate, his tail never wagged, not even w/ food- what a silly dog! I had a huge job ahead of me- socializing a dog whose entire life until rescue had been filled w/ negative interactions w/ humans. I knew we had to start off on the right foot- obedience class was the first step. I enrolled Bacari, going the first night in a harness, collar and choke chain. He looked like P Diddy w/ all his gear on. The instructor mentioned that he would be unable to take the final exam in all that get-up. I responded that I was not here to pass a test, just get my dog comfortable enough to take the chains off. And soon enough Bacari was only on a lead/choke chain. he was the star of the class, minding beautifully. We passed w/ flying colors and then signed up for the next level. That too was a breeze for the B-Man- he loved it. There was a section of the ring that had mirrors where Bacari would trot around looking at himself - he seemed to finally see how handsome he was! That class ended as Bacari successfully completed his Canine Good Citizen certification. The person who administered the test wanted to take him home and insisted he go to the next level of obedience (which we have yet to do- life has gotten in the way)

Bacari has grown more confident as the days pass, he still loves visiting his foster home and seeing his friends there- but at the same time gets really excited when we come home- wagging tails, giving kisses, and of course the typical Ridgeback sniff of the rear. Recently he countersurfed for the first time- instead of being mad, I was overjoyed that he was sure enough of himself to take that loaf of bread off the countertop (I know you are all thinking why was the bread there anyway, well I am on year 2 w/ this dog and NO previous surfing)

I am hoping this blog will serve as a place where I can brag about my boy! And also I place where I can get ideas from others who have jumped into the exciting world of Ridgebacks w/ the added spice that only a rescue dog can bring!!

Amanda and Bacari

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I adopted Tsavo on March 18, 2006. As soon as I saw him on RRUS website, I knew he was the dog for my family. So I contacted them and finally got to Evelyn and she told me I would have to come meet them in Tennessee. I had a little problem - I lived in NH about 1300 miles away. She also said he couldn't fly so I would have to drive him back to NH. So I talked my brother in NY to drive down to TN on St Patrick's Day weekend to get my little bundle of joy.

Well we met Evelyn and her pack and Tsavo who wouldn't come near us at 1st, but finally warmed up to us. We've had Tsavo now for 8 months and he has fit in well w/our two Basset Hounds, cat and bird.

But there is a problem w/ Tsavo. I am reluctant to talk about it because I don't want to negatively influence any new adoptees.But I feel I have to get this off my chest. Don't get me wrong , my family and I love this dog. But he is DUMB as can be, and a CHICKEN. First of all he got attacked by a Jack Russell Terrier (all 25 lbs. of him) at a fair ( Tsavo is 95 lbs.) The he fell in my brother's covered pool, while drinking out of it. BTW there was a water bowl 10' away.

We took him hiking and 2 little kids scared him on the trail, it should be the other way around! It was pretty funny to see such a big dog get so scared by 2 little kids.

Also he is very greedy. We had to buy a new garbage can so he didn't get his head stuck while feasting in it. Counter surfing! This dog has perfected it to an new art form. He stands up on the counter to get what he wants and when you yell at him he doesn't move, until you approach him. Then he runs away. I took him to obedience training and he was awesome. At training! It's when he got home is when he acted up.

So we've resigned ourselves to the fact we've got a "special needs" hound (I thought Bassets were bad). He sleeps in our bed and my son's when we throw him out of ours. When we play w/him and someone does something to him, he either bites me or our down comforter on our bed (which in the cleaners for repairs). He won't lay down in the car either, he stands for hours on end.

But honestly, we love this dog and he is a large part of our family. We take him everywhere w/us (he's been in 13 states, in 8 months!). I'm so glad we adopted him and so is my family. He has his quirks, but he is a great hound, and we will love him forever! Thank you for bringing Tsavo into our family.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Jafari the wonder dog

We were lucky enough to adopt Jafari in April 2006. Even with the life in a puppy mill before he was rescued he is an amazing dog. He has adapted well to his new forever home and is experiencing new things all of the time. He is so smart and so beautiful. Everyone that he meets falls in love with him. We have a list of people that have volunteered to dog sit if we ever need one. Jafari has a favorite park which is in our backyard. He seems to think that he can go there by himself when ever he wants to. He runs and runs around the park as he visits every tree. He is so cute when he runs. When we are at the park and he decides that he has had enough he takes himself home and stands on the deck and waits for us as if saying "what took you so long?"
Jafari has been a wonderful addition to our family. We also call him velcro dog because after only being here a couple of days he was following us everywhere and he still does. We try to give him new experiences all of the time, we call them adventures. We have taken him to softball games, to the bank, he also went to an Iowa Hawkeye football party at a friend's and was a big hit, and I have even taken him to work with me.
We are so glad that he is a member of our family. He is just perfect and does so many cute things.

Tori - my wild child

I thought I'd introduce you all to Tori. Some of you have had the privilege of meeting her and many of you have seen her picture(s) but I thought I'd introduce the rest of you to her. :)

Tori came to me as a foster dog back in Sept '04. She is an RRUS dog. She was found wandering the streets in Houston, TX and was picked up by an animal shelter here. She was 1 1/2 - 2 years old at the time. Erica pulled her from the shelter and asked me if I would foster her for a few days until she could take Tori up to the Specialty. I agreed and Tori came to my house. Well, she did go to the Specialty that year but she came straight back to my house. I told Erica the day she picked Tori up for the Specialty that I wanted to adopt her. And Erica will tell you that Tori, after spending 2 or so weeks with Erica, completely ignored her when she saw me. She is my girl, through and through. And I am hers. I couldn't give her up even when she does things like this:

(She decided that since I hadn't put the sheets back on the bed that it was fair game to shred it...sigh...That was a memory foam mattress topper...)

But then she does things like this:

And gives me this look:

How can you resist that?

She is definitely my wild child. And I love her for it. Now if I only I can get her to rein it in a little bit. My hopes for Tori are to do obedience with her and to help her earn her CGC and to become certified as a Therapy Dog. She is not my first dog. She is not top dog in the house (Jack's has that honor). But she is my girl. And I love her dearly.