Homeless Animals 101: How to Make a Difference / Robyn Arouty Photography Houston, TX

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I sure miss the heck out of blogging. Some of you have been following my work since project71. I used to blog every day without fail when I was volunteering weekly for BARC. About 2 years ago, I started taking photos at the shelter of the adoptable cats & dogs…then, teamed up with Craig Malisow of the Houston Press Hairballs blog to promote them. His off-color & hilarious descriptions of the babies were the biggest hit & we were very successful in finding many homeless animals homes.

Most of these photos haven’t ever been seen. They were taken about a year ago at BARC…with the help of my fearless assistant Nicole (who does not know I’m posting them…so if I’m missing from facebook tomorrow…send the troops please!)

The following commentary was taken directly from a facebook post. I asked rescuers to list all the things they could think of that people can do to help homeless animals…in any & all ways. It’s pretty long…but oh, so awesome! Hopefully this makes a difference for some…& more importantly, a lot of animals! Please leave your comments…would love to hear if this helped give you some direction/inspiration/motivation.

By the way…I asked one of my favorite rescue org directors this: “What do u think is the #1 & #2 reasons people don’t do more???” & she responded: “#1. They do not see the need. #2. They feel overwhelemed when they do see the need. The need is HUGE!”

www.robynarouty.com

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Volunteer, promote awareness, network information out to the masses. encourage donations. Speak at civic center meetings.

Volunteer. That’s the big one to me. At least when I volunteer, I know what good I’m doing. Money is just kind of vague as to what you’re actually helping. Also, make an effort to be educated and help educate others.

Many shelters will take old towels that people don’t need anymore to use as rags for washing animals or (depending on the condition) something soft to have in the cage for them to lay on, rip up, or whatever. It’s better than throwing the towels away, for sure!

I think a great place to start is think about what skills you have…chances are they can be utilized in some form or fashion towards enhancing the lives of homeless animals. construction, web design, accounting, attorney, artist, teacher, etc..

Volunteers can cover a lot of area. They can socialize animals; makes them more adoptable. They can volunteer with daily duites of a shelter or help with fundraising events and mobile adoption events. Volunteers can also man the facebook pages and share posts. We have a group of college volunteers that hang all our event posters throughout the area. Volunteers help bathe animals to make them more presentable for adoption. We also have some that man the shelter during the holidays so regular staff can spend time with their families. Photographers can volunteer to take adoption photos. I could really go on and on.

Talk about adopt versus buying a dog. Donate items: restaurant gift cards, starbucks, game tickets, wine baskets, etc for raffle to help raise money. Almost all of the money we raise goes to pay vet bills. We vaccinate, microchip, give meds and treat heartworm positive dogs. Heartworm treatmt costs about $400 per dog. We also spay and neuter, do dentals, pay for antibiotics, etc. Yes, vets give us a discount, but not much. Never over 40 percent of the bill. Some vets will donate a spay or neuter. People can also volunteer to help transport dogs to and from vets and foster homes. Fundraising and helping out at events like Pet Fest or the Reliant Dog Show, etc is a big help.

Photograph dogs for petfinder and shelter websites, a HUGE job and they need it all the time (like weekly, biweekly would be so helpful to most shelters!). Even if you’re working with a point and shoot, its the TIME you spend getting photos of the dogs that makes the difference for them.

Networking rescues on FB - join rescue lists and your news feed will no longer be full of photos of lunches but photos of dogs that simply need to be networked - shared, tagged with appropriate rescues, and commented to keep their post active enough for someone to hopefully see them before their time is up.

Volunteer at outreach events, there are never enough hands to hold all the dogs and its a great way to meet some real cool people and other rescues.

Offer to transport if your rescue is foster-based, there are always dogs that need to go to the vet/groomer/meet a new adopter, and the rescues and foster homes are often overwhelmed with trying to manage all this. 

Transport dogs who need to get from one rescue to another to save their lives, or from the shelter to a rescue. Pulling a dog from the shelter on its last day, even if you are NOT going to foster it, is probably the most amazing feeling in the world. You just KNOW they are happy to start their life again. 

Your TIME is often worth more than money to these rescues. Many people donate money, it is a wonderful thing to do, but it is the first thing people think of when they can’t rescue or adopt….there are other things you can do to make the LIVES of these dogs better and easier. You can actually train dogs to not jump all over their potential adopters without even opening the kennel! BAD RAP has a great video about it. Walking them is great too of course, some of the shelters are so full they never leave their cage. This kind of time spent with the dogs, especially at high kill shelters, could absolutely change their life and adoptability.

Give $$$$$!

I would guess that at least 30 percent of the rescues we get in are heartworm positive and not spayed or neutered. The heartworm treatment takes approx 10 weeks; dogs must be kept quiet and crated during this time to allow the meds to kill the heartworms. This 10 weeks is a long time to foster a dog, so our foster homes get tied up with dogs having to go thru the treatmt. Our first adopted sheltie went thru the treatmt and he is fine. That was 7 yrs ago. Some of them don’t make it, but at least we try to save them.

Sponsor a dog at a rescue or shelter.

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Remember that rescue is a different environment than high kill….high kills (county animal shelters, the “pound” style shelters) often need the help the most but can be a little harder to get into. It REALLY depends on the shelter/rescue, so you gotta feel it out! Check out their events, visit their rescue, if you like what you see and you feel like you click with the other volunteers/organizers, you’ve found your rescue! It might take a few. Some rescues/shelters are a little cold, some are not run very well. Some don’t even seem to encourage volunteers or help. But MOST are full of wonderfully warm people who really love dogs and want to see them thrive in this world, and they DO need help. You can do the smallest things and make the biggest difference for these dogs!

I agree there is quite a disjoint between people who want to help and the rescues who are often to overwhelmed to “recruit” help. Its really hard! It took me almost a year of living in SF to figure out how to even volunteer with the rescues, I didn’t even know half of them existed but once you’re involved in it, you see more and more how much help is needed. I started searching on petfinder and emailing rescues to see if they needed help, so that’s what I’d recommend :) WHOO. Long winded, sorry! Hope this helps someone!

Monetary donations can go directly for a specific reason/animal — eg — the EBD that Robyn, et al rescued last night. Or for a needed surgery or procedure for specific dogs in rescue. Donating for specific things is usually possible with most rescues.

Supplies are always needed for foster homes. Such as: shampoos and conditioners especially for itchy skins, Frontline etc, coat supplements, food, treats, collars, leashes, chew toys, collapsable wire crates, bedding, pretty much anything you think would come in handy as a pet owner we need for our foster dogs. Volunteer groomers are very nice to have especially when you have long haired dogs like shih tzus and lhasa apsos!

You can also donate directly to the vet doing the procedure!! i will post Cyrus’ vet info on monday.

I bet human hairstylists could groom dogs pretty easily…such a need for that…omg!

Fostering is the BEST thing you can do….it is literally a ticket out of the shelter for another dog. Muttville had a lecture the other day about bringing your foster dog to its greatest potential - teaching it little tricks, youtubing it, etc. Its the greatest donation of time and LOVE that you could ever give, and hell yeah its hard!! But saving someone’s life is not supposed to be easy. And its beyond worth it to see them go on to live their own life, with their own family, who will love them just as much as you did. Probably even more, because it is their forever home after all. :)

I foster shih tzus and lhasa apsos and 9/10 that I get have to be groomed and most often shaved to start fresh! They are just as matted here in Okla as they are down there LOL.

Foster or adopt a dog from a shelter = save a life / buy one from a breeder or a pet store = kill a life

Gather the spare change in your car, closet, laundry room and the same for your friends. Spare change can be enough to fully vaccinate a dog. YOu will not miss it.

Have a garage sale and ask friends and family to donate to it. Our last garage sale raised $1000. This was enough vaccinate, spay, microchip and heartworm treat 3 pugs.

Donate old towels, bath mats and bedding to shelters. Most have concrete floors and this can help the animals become slightly more comfortable.

Make snacks for your office and ask people to donate money to the rescue of your choice in exchange for them. Brownie and cookie bars go fast.

Virtually foster an animal. Pay the bills and promote one dog or cat at a rescue or shelter. This allows the rescue or shelter to save one more.

FOCUS on 1 thing people!!

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Helping a rescue group makes great projects for classrooms, scouting troops, birthday parties etc. We have had kids who had birthday parties and instead of gifts asked for things for the dogs. If you are a teacher or a scout leader you can adopt a local rescue group :) We also have a junior volunteer program where students from some of the area schools are required to to volunteer work and we are one of their choices. These awesome teens help show our dogs at Petsmart on the weekends. Without them we would be short handed! They walk the dogs on potty breaks, handle them, get them out for potential adopters. Keep the peace sometimes LOL.

Many shelters will have a wish list of items they need ranging from food, toys, towels, blankets, even office supplies. Items donated help save money for medical treatment.

Transportation, application processing, home visits, education, money, food donation, kennel cleaning, bathes, basic grooming, walks, socializing…off the top of my head.

Money for vetting and food. Volunteers don’t get paid at all or reimbursed for time, gas, etc. We do it because we love it. No one I know is making money off of animal rescue.

I adopted 2 brothers, but since I can’t foster or rescue, I volunteer at our local Humane Society’s annual fundraiser, also sell my pawprint jewelry year-rlong with 100 percent of proceeds going to the society!!!

Help with fundraising! Collect things that could be used as auction items - restaurant gift cards, salon/spa gift cards, donations of service (photography sessions, computer IT help, music for weddings etc. etc.) All the money goes to the vet.

Help bath the new guys, help get the little guys preped for events, help promote dogs, go spend playime with them or walk them. Provide high quality food, treats, doggie pads, shampoo, combs, ear cleaner, vitamins, dog bowls, cleaning materials, towels, laundry detergent, paper towels.

There are way to many things to do when you can not adopt any more pets etc. I started a pet food bank for my community with a friend of mine through rescue. We donate pet food to low income, seniors, homeless and disabled who can not afford it. We are keeping pets in thier homes and out of shelters. It’s a double whammie win!! It’s easy and we have so much support - we love it! We also spay/neuter our families pets who can’t afford it. We also donate pet food to rural county shelters and disasters like the tornados in the south.

Fostering 101: Best Tips on How to Foster a Dog ~ Houston TX, Robyn Arouty Photography

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I love having dog/cat rescue & animal advocate friends from around the world on my facebook page. Recently, I posted a request for foster information to help a friend out. I’m not aware of any manuals on the subject & most of us stumble on rescue/fostering & just throw all caution to the wind. Below you will see the results of our very informative discussion!

I used to be very cautious with new fosters..I would slowly introduce them, crate them, keep them apart for the first few days for bathroom breaks etc….then I figured out I was just making it worse..I started walking the new dog in, straight through the house, not even looking at the dogs (as if I were simply bringing in new groceries) right to the backyard, leaving the leash on in case of emergency, but letting them sniff and discuss on their own…found it works in about 2.5 minutes instead of days…this was, of course, after I finally figured out how to be the alpha. They trust me to make the right decisions on who I bring in. I won’t bring in an alpha female…I know my pack wouldn’t take well…anyone else is pretty cool.”

Absolutely one day at a time. I can attest to moments of personal weakness where I felt I was being challenged beyond my capability. Have to remember there are vulnerable and frightened lives in our hands. Foster moms are human too. But we should reach out to our support system when it feels difficult. Robyn once told me, it takes a village.”

I also always leave the leash on my new fosters for 3-4 days so i can pull them off safely if a fight starts.”

Puppy proof your home even if the foster is not a puppy…expect accidents and destructive behaviour even if you have been told the dog is an angel in the house.”

 “This is interesting. The first time I fostered I was given two puppy labs with worms, I was sooo overwhelmed I’ve never fostered dogs again, just guinea pigs. I’d never had a dog with worms so I was a little freaked out, plus I have my own dog that I had to worry about. So my advice would be only take one at a time, unless you have previous experience.”

However…unless you are fostering orphans and very small pups…then more than one is easier and they will sleep through the night comforting each other! If a pup is under ten weeks old, I would rather take two! :)”

Although my housemate does it a little different. Foster usually in front garden one by one brings a dog out lets them sniff/growl/whatever, then just brings the dog in. Keeping her Hounds muzzled. But thats because of them personally, not their breeds!!”

Aside from that they live with the gang as normal. The one exception was the ancient (17yrs) terrier who lived in a cupboard for 90% of her life, she was crated overnight/intervals during the day - but that’s because she needed to gradually come around to the idea of living in a whole house, again. She loved her confined spaces though (big crate).”

Worms are transferred by poop laying in the yard and absorbed thru the pads of other dogs. Also, some dogs eat others’ poop, so you must be quick about picking it up before it becomes another’s lunch.”

Even if they are chipped, make sure they are wearing a collar & tags…a new dog especially would have no idea where they are if they got out & people are more likely to help a dog with a collar & tags.”

Set up a routine for the new dog :) It will help them feel more comfortable in the new environment plus it will help in the future with learning manners.”

I can ramble off all kinds of things. I disagree with several things that have already been said but I’m used to dealing with either the power mastiff breeds or the little territorial terrier breeds so intros are of the upmost importance. The first rule is no matter where the new incoming dog is coming from… it immediately gets a medicated bath and scrub down to kill any parasites, fungus, bacteria etc that might be contagious and then the dog is quarantined for a minimum of a week to make sure no uris (upper respitory infections). During this time I interact with the dog and access its temperament. If I feel the rest of my dogs and fosters aren’t at risk health wise then I will consider intros.

Neutral territory is best and advised and this is how I’d intro mastiffs to mastiffs. However, with the minpins they’re smaller and easier to control so I choose the next best thing. It’s always outside in the backyard, NEVER inside, never crate my dogs and let the others sniff. That’s as bad as doing intros on lead and promotes aggression. Terriers crate fighting? Not pretty. The new dog is brought outside and let to get comfortable then I’ll slowly intro the others and see how everyone reacts starting with the best tempered ones and leaving the buttheads for last. It’s a process that can take a few days depending on the dog in question.

Regarding letting the dogs fight it out and not breaking it up? That’s insane. At least with the breeds I deal with, you’d have a dead dog. Minpins with their large teeth, thin fur and skin, feisty attitude and bred instinct to kill vermin? I’m good at reading behavior and it rarely gets to that point and if it does I intervene in a heartbeat. Any more alpha or dominant ones are always crated in my absence.

Worms are no big deal and don’t bother me at all. They are all incredibly simple to treat. ALL puppies will pretty much have worms, which is why you deworm them every two weeks until they mature. As long as stools are firm then who cares? Mine automatically get broad spectrum wormer monthly including praziquantel for tapeworms, which don’t show up on fecal float exams, but they don’t have fleas anyway so its a moot point…but yet I still do it just in case. You only need to worry if the new dog has diarrhea… another reason I keep them quarantined… to make sure there is no coccidia/guardia/bacterial infection etc.

I’ve had all the above though and it’s easy to control as well. You just don’t want to spread it to your noninfected dogs. But if the worms are the only thing that freaked you out, then try fostering again. It’s all normal and can be kinda gross when they expel them but its a good thing cause you know the puppy is getting healthier. Now, im assuming they were expelling roundworms after being medicated. If they werent medicated and they had worms in their fecal matter then it was probably tapeworms, in which case they need praziquantel. but since the tapeworms come from fleas you’ll want to take care of the flea issue first. There are several reputable rescues that would love to have a foster and if they don’t work with you and educate you on what to expect and make you feel confident about your fostering abilities, then find a different group :)

Training… I train them not to chew the woodwork and destroy the phone charger or shred the duvet. I heartworm treat them, spay/neuter, fix broken legs and burnt bodies. The last thing I care about is if the dog can sit or walk well on a leash. That’s the adopter’s responsibility, as well as house training. I crate train and they’re typically house trained at my house, but that doesn’t mean they won’t pee at your house. Most dogs go back to square one as they adjust into a new environment and routine and I never tell adopters that they’re house trained even if they are, because i know they won’t have the same sleep/wake/ feed/ potty schedule that I have.

Regarding dogs bolting out the front door… Minpins are escape artists and I think fosters should take all precautions to keep this from happening. My known bolters get crated prior to my going anywhere near the front door… and the foremost thing that I teach is the recall. If I call you, you better come running! Even if I’m totally pissed, I’m going to sound all happy and give them kissies and cookies cause that’s their reward for coming when I call. No chasing, it’s not a game. I call, you come. It’s typically for their own safety. OK, I’m going to stop rambling now. I’m supposed to go look at a couple dogs at BARC.”

Worms are pretty standard with most any dog…untreated some can cause anemia & other problems, but they are SO easy to treat. I have had dogs packed full of worms that transform in no time. Robyn, remember little Joey?? He was so full of worms, had sarcoptic mange and didn’t have any hair ~~ in no time he was a beautiful blue gray boy with a big white flash on his chest…now livin’ large in Baton Rouge.”

About worms: If you can see the worms, they are tape worms - from fleas - pretty harmless but icky. Two pills and they are gone.”

Everyone has to learn fostering themselves. There really isn’t a book that says

here’s how you do it.” Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately) each dog is different. You just have to figure out how to deal with the situation. Unless a dog is dominant aggressive and a danger to your life, most things can be dealt with by being the “calm assertive” leader. And, honestly, what works for one person may not work for another. A key concept to understand is that dogs also pick up on YOUR emotions in a huge way. If you are a nervous, anxious person, the dog will likely be nervous and anxious.”

I don’t foster, but I rescued two dogs several months apart. Dog One decided to put Dog Two in his place by telling him he was not welcome on the bed even though Dog Two was 4 times his size. As the pack leader, I decided to back him up on that one - after all he was here first. It helped established a social heirarchy very quickly. Dog One felt secure and unthreatened. Dog Two was glad to know his place. That created a peaceful space with rules that everyone understood. Now they are best friends and they both sleep on the bed with me.”

Socialize! Take the foster everywhere you can so that they’re exposed to many things. This gives you an idea about whether they’re good with kids, other dogs/cats, and what could potentially cause an issue. My ultimate goal is that all my fosters are placed in forever homes and I’ve found that I can match potential adopters to a dog if I know as much as I can about it’s behavior.”

Think of a foster (or any pet new to you) as a visitor from another country. He doesn’t understand your spoken language and quite often, your body language. Take it slow and expect mistakes to happen. Give them time to learn all these new words and routines. They want to fit in…the pack is how they survive, and their success at that now depends on you and they know it. It’s scary…imagine knowing that your life is in a total stranger’s hands and they don’t speak your language.”

When they get adopted, make sure the new family knows some of the words and other things you have taught your foster :) ”

Don’t expect the dog/cat to be perfect. Fostering is not easy and sometimes you have to put in a lot of work to help make the dog adoptable. Take it one baby step at a time. Make sure you know your limits before you commit to fostering an animal because the rescue will be put in a tough spot if something goes wrong.”

Keep high value treats out of the equation for a couple of weeks. Let the new dog and existing dogs negotiate the relationship before introducing any high value treats (food treats) into a group setting. Giving them when training is fine, but just as a family sitting around, introducing chewables is dangerous.”

I think people can learn a lot from the two week shutdown method and/or tweak it to suit their own foster dog:

                            http://www.nhpbr.org/two_weeks.html

I’ve had all types of foster dogs but what I do with each one is not feel sorry for them or humanize them. That is the number 1 mistake you can make. Dogs live in the moment, they arent thinking about the person who abused or neglected them. I can be sad about their history, yes who wouldn’t, but we start over with day 1 of their new life and the nothing in life is free method is implemented immediately. Tough love and structure = happier and more stable dogs because all the pressure is off of them to be alpha and make decisions for you.”

There are some that don’t believe in giving Bordatela every 6 months..they say it’s over doing the vaccines especially since there are so many different strains that are not covered in the vaccine.”

Secrets From Animal Rescuers: Fostering 101 ~ Houston, TX

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I love having dog/cat rescue & animal advocate friends from around the country on my facebook page. Recently, I posted a request for foster information…to help those looking for a manual of sorts…since most of us are just thrown to the sharks in the beginning. Below you will see the results of our very informative discussion!

—-

I used to be very cautious with new fosters..I would slowly introduce them, crate them, keep them apart for the first few days for bathroom breaks etc….then I figured out I was just making it worse..I started walking the new dog in, straight through the house, not even looking at the dogs (as if I were simply bringing in new groceries) right to the backyard, leaving the leash on in case of emergency, but letting them sniff and discuss on their own…found it works in about 2.5 minutes instead of days…this was, of course, after I finally figured out how to be the alpha. They trust me to make the right decisions on who I bring in. I won’t bring in an alpha female…I know my pack wouldn’t take well…anyone else is pretty cool.”

Absolutely one day at a time. I can attest to moments of personal weakness where I felt I was being challenged beyond my capability. Have to remember there are vulnerable and frightened lives in our hands. Foster moms are human too. But we should reach out to our support system when it feels difficult. Robyn once told me, it takes a village.”

I also always leave the leash on my new fosters for 3-4 days so i can pull them off safely if a fight starts.”

Puppy proof your home even if the foster is not a puppy…expect accidents and destructive behaviour even if you have been told the dog is an angel in the house.”

 “This is interesting. The first time I fostered I was given two puppy labs with worms, I was sooo overwhelmed I’ve never fostered dogs again, just guinea pigs. I’d never had a dog with worms so I was a little freaked out, plus I have my own dog that I had to worry about. So my advice would be only take one at a time, unless you have previous experience.”

However…unless you are fostering orphans and very small pups…then more than one is easier and they will sleep through the night comforting each other! If a pup is under ten weeks old, I would rather take two! :)”

Although my housemate does it a little different. Foster usually in front garden one by one brings a dog out lets them sniff/growl/whatever, then just brings the dog in. Keeping her Hounds muzzled. But thats because of them personally, not their breeds!!”

Aside from that they live with the gang as normal. The one exception was the ancient (17yrs) terrier who lived in a cupboard for 90% of her life, she was crated overnight/intervals during the day - but that’s because she needed to gradually come around to the idea of living in a whole house, again. She loved her confined spaces though (big crate).”

Worms are transferred by poop laying in the yard and absorbed thru the pads of other dogs. Also, some dogs eat others’ poop, so you must be quick about picking it up before it becomes another’s lunch.”

Even if they are chipped, make sure they are wearing a collar & tags…a new dog especially would have no idea where they are if they got out & people are more likely to help a dog with a collar & tags.”

Set up a routine for the new dog :) It will help them feel more comfortable in the new environment plus it will help in the future with learning manners.”

I can ramble off all kinds of things. I disagree with several things that have already been said but I’m used to dealing with either the power mastiff breeds or the little territorial terrier breeds so intros are of the upmost importance. The first rule is no matter where the new incoming dog is coming from… it immediately gets a medicated bath and scrub down to kill any parasites, fungus, bacteria etc that might be contagious and then the dog is quarantined for a minimum of a week to make sure no uris (upper respitory infections). During this time I interact with the dog and access its temperament. If I feel the rest of my dogs and fosters aren’t at risk health wise then I will consider intros.

Neutral territory is best and advised and this is how I’d intro mastiffs to mastiffs. However, with the minpins they’re smaller and easier to control so I choose the next best thing. It’s always outside in the backyard, NEVER inside, never crate my dogs and let the others sniff. That’s as bad as doing intros on lead and promotes aggression. Terriers crate fighting? Not pretty. The new dog is brought outside and let to get comfortable then I’ll slowly intro the others and see how everyone reacts starting with the best tempered ones and leaving the buttheads for last. It’s a process that can take a few days depending on the dog in question.

Regarding letting the dogs fight it out and not breaking it up? That’s insane. At least with the breeds I deal with, you’d have a dead dog. Minpins with their large teeth, thin fur and skin, feisty attitude and bred instinct to kill vermin? I’m good at reading behavior and it rarely gets to that point and if it does I intervene in a heartbeat. Any more alpha or dominant ones are always crated in my absence.

Worms are no big deal and don’t bother me at all. They are all incredibly simple to treat. ALL puppies will pretty much have worms, which is why you deworm them every two weeks until they mature. As long as stools are firm then who cares? Mine automatically get broad spectrum wormer monthly including praziquantel for tapeworms, which don’t show up on fecal float exams, but they don’t have fleas anyway so its a moot point…but yet I still do it just in case. You only need to worry if the new dog has diarrhea… another reason I keep them quarantined… to make sure there is no coccidia/guardia/bacterial infection etc.

I’ve had all the above though and it’s easy to control as well. You just don’t want to spread it to your noninfected dogs. But if the worms are the only thing that freaked you out, then try fostering again. It’s all normal and can be kinda gross when they expel them but its a good thing cause you know the puppy is getting healthier. Now, im assuming they were expelling roundworms after being medicated. If they werent medicated and they had worms in their fecal matter then it was probably tapeworms, in which case they need praziquantel. but since the tapeworms come from fleas you’ll want to take care of the flea issue first. There are several reputable rescues that would love to have a foster and if they don’t work with you and educate you on what to expect and make you feel confident about your fostering abilities, then find a different group :)

Training… I train them not to chew the woodwork and destroy the phone charger or shred the duvet. I heartworm treat them, spay/neuter, fix broken legs and burnt bodies. The last thing I care about is if the dog can sit or walk well on a leash. That’s the adopter’s responsibility, as well as house training. I crate train and they’re typically house trained at my house, but that doesn’t mean they won’t pee at your house. Most dogs go back to square one as they adjust into a new environment and routine and I never tell adopters that they’re house trained even if they are, because i know they won’t have the same sleep/wake/ feed/ potty schedule that I have.

Regarding dogs bolting out the front door… Minpins are escape artists and I think fosters should take all precautions to keep this from happening. My known bolters get crated prior to my going anywhere near the front door… and the foremost thing that I teach is the recall. If I call you, you better come running! Even if I’m totally pissed, I’m going to sound all happy and give them kissies and cookies cause that’s their reward for coming when I call. No chasing, it’s not a game. I call, you come. It’s typically for their own safety. OK, I’m going to stop rambling now. I’m supposed to go look at a couple dogs at BARC.”

Worms are pretty standard with most any dog…untreated some can cause anemia & other problems, but they are SO easy to treat. I have had dogs packed full of worms that transform in no time. Robyn, remember little Joey?? He was so full of worms, had sarcoptic mange and didn’t have any hair ~~ in no time he was a beautiful blue gray boy with a big white flash on his chest…now livin’ large in Baton Rouge.”

About worms: If you can see the worms, they are tape worms - from fleas - pretty harmless but icky. Two pills and they are gone.”

Everyone has to learn fostering themselves. There really isn’t a book that says

here’s how you do it.” Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately) each dog is different. You just have to figure out how to deal with the situation. Unless a dog is dominant aggressive and a danger to your life, most things can be dealt with by being the “calm assertive” leader. And, honestly, what works for one person may not work for another. A key concept to understand is that dogs also pick up on YOUR emotions in a huge way. If you are a nervous, anxious person, the dog will likely be nervous and anxious.”

I don’t foster, but I rescued two dogs several months apart. Dog One decided to put Dog Two in his place by telling him he was not welcome on the bed even though Dog Two was 4 times his size. As the pack leader, I decided to back him up on that one - after all he was here first. It helped established a social heirarchy very quickly. Dog One felt secure and unthreatened. Dog Two was glad to know his place. That created a peaceful space with rules that everyone understood. Now they are best friends and they both sleep on the bed with me.”

Socialize! Take the foster everywhere you can so that they’re exposed to many things. This gives you an idea about whether they’re good with kids, other dogs/cats, and what could potentially cause an issue. My ultimate goal is that all my fosters are placed in forever homes and I’ve found that I can match potential adopters to a dog if I know as much as I can about it’s behavior.”

Think of a foster (or any pet new to you) as a visitor from another country. He doesn’t understand your spoken language and quite often, your body language. Take it slow and expect mistakes to happen. Give them time to learn all these new words and routines. They want to fit in…the pack is how they survive, and their success at that now depends on you and they know it. It’s scary…imagine knowing that your life is in a total stranger’s hands and they don’t speak your language.”

When they get adopted, make sure the new family knows some of the words and other things you have taught your foster :) ”

Don’t expect the dog/cat to be perfect. Fostering is not easy and sometimes you have to put in a lot of work to help make the dog adoptable. Take it one baby step at a time. Make sure you know your limits before you commit to fostering an animal because the rescue will be put in a tough spot if something goes wrong.”

Keep high value treats out of the equation for a couple of weeks. Let the new dog and existing dogs negotiate the relationship before introducing any high value treats (food treats) into a group setting. Giving them when training is fine, but just as a family sitting around, introducing chewables is dangerous.”

I think people can learn a lot from the two week shutdown method and/or tweak it to suit their own foster dog:

                            http://www.nhpbr.org/two_weeks.html

I’ve had all types of foster dogs but what I do with each one is not feel sorry for them or humanize them. That is the number 1 mistake you can make. Dogs live in the moment, they arent thinking about the person who abused or neglected them. I can be sad about their history, yes who wouldn’t, but we start over with day 1 of their new life and the nothing in life is free method is implemented immediately. Tough love and structure = happier and more stable dogs because all the pressure is off of them to be alpha and make decisions for you.”

There are some that don’t believe in giving Bordatela every 6 months..they say it’s over doing the vaccines especially since there are so many different strains that are not covered in the vaccine.”

Houston SPCA/Waller County Puppy Mill Photos ~ Robyn Arouty, Pet Photographer

I was invited by Lone Star Shih Tzu & Lhasa Apso Rescue to visit the 200+ dogs that were taken from a “breeder” in Waller County, Texas. A representative from the Houston SPCA took us from room to room. It was overwhelming. There were mostly shih tzus…& the occasional boston terrier & weiner dog. There were several groomers there volunteering their time to get the “adoptable” dogs ready…but many were still in crates…looking as bad as they did the day they were taken. A crew from Animal Planet’s Animal Cops Houston was filming & following the stories of several of the dogs. Fred, in the first photo, is one of them. A print of this photo is available for sale here…100% of the proceeds will go to Lone Star to benefit the puppy mill dogs.

An Open Letter To A Local Photographer ~ Robyn Arouty Photography Blog

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This is a guest post by David Jackson, a Wisconsin-based editorial portrait photographer and an international award winning wedding photographer. In 2007 he left his full-time job of 14 years as a law enforcement officer to pursue a career as a full-time photographer and to maintain his life’s priority as a devoted husband and father to three little girls. His passion for education has lead him to develop the Breaking The Rule Portrait Workshop, focused on honing photographers skill sets in creating more compelling portraits. David’s fine art photography project entitled SIMPLE+DIRTY, has also gained wide attention through his documentation of abandoned structures and modern industrial ruins across the Midwest.Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on Facebook. And if you like his post here, trust me, you’ll love his blog.” (originally posted by Seshu’s Tiffinbox)

Here’s the deal and I’m going to cut right to the chase. This letter is an open and honest gripe specifically directed at you. Why, you ask? Well, we know each other. I view you as my competition, my nemesis and my enemy. I’ve been quietly watching your every move as an artist, a business owner and a person I typically respect. But this whole time I’ve been judging you. I’ve grown increasingly tired of the photo industry and I can see that you have a small integral part of its inherent failure as a whole. You’re just one more number in the growing sea of photographers who think they can make it and at the same time snuff out the veteran shooters. For this reason, I’m going to be blunt and an all-around asshole in what I’m about to say. I rarely take pot shots like this, but I’ve had enough and now’s the time to lay it all out on the table.

To begin with, you irritate me.

By no means does this come from a place of envy, but rather out of genuine frustration. I have seen your work many times before. To be honest, it’s really nothing to brag about. You are the same old thing that I see every other day spewed out on blogs across the web and sold as something fresh and “different.” Just executed in a similar “cheesy” and sometimes over-done way. I have watched the way you shoot. I’ve seen the way you indirectly portray yourself as “awesome” to the Facebook and Twitter masses just chomping at the bit to gain attention by other photographers around you. Not to mention having ambitions of getting hired by potential big-name clients who I’m sure, are knocking down your doors to give you cold hard cash. You’re that new up-and-coming photographer in the industry and you have it all figured out.

Well I have news for you. You’re far from it.

It’s like watching a slow-moving train wreck. You post photos and blog links like it’s going out of style and manage to get such GREAT compliments on the mediocre work you produce. It’s all too predictable:

Great Photos!”
WOW
“You are truly talented.”
“You’re an inspiration!”
LOVE!”
“Amazing!!!”

Doesn’t the same old recycled essay of comments make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? It might, but all this positive fluff only enables your head to grow larger and you’re your ego to inflate to ridiculous proportions. Not your photography.

Well, let’s dissect your work. From what I’ve seen online, your post-production is all over the place. In the beginning you struggled to take a halfway decent photo. Although you have the basics down, I can tell you prefer taking the easy way out. You love the idea of using Photoshop actions and filters instead of actually editing your photos in a simple, organic way. You love shortcuts. You’re a product of the digital age and rely on your LCD screen to attain a halfway decent exposure. You barely know how to use a light meter. You have attended workshops, bought DVD’s and stalked numerous other photographer’s blogs with hopes to mimic their style. And by doing this you deliver photos that you can hardly call original, yet comfortably fit into the “what’s hot now” category. After all, it’s these trends that are selling at the moment…

Time after time you deliver the same old predictable photos that we’ve all seen before. What you don’t realize is that the things you are doing today to attain your new-found “signature look” will soon be outdated and un-marketable. And the further you back yourself into a corner, the harder it will be to get out of when you become the new “selective-color” of 2013.

Sure, your clients may fall hard for your work and you sometimes ooze fairy dust in a lovefest for yourself. But I don’t think you’re truly happy with any of it. You’re often afraid of other people’s opinions and constructive criticism. Far be it from you to get honest feedback without becoming defensive about your precious photographs or better yet, face an unhappy client. But then again you’ve NEVER had an unhappy client… Right? They ALL love you and your photos.

I can tell by the crappy outdated photos STILL in your portfolio, you are yet to update your extensively mismatched galleries or put any effort in getting your website together in a logical way. Looking at it closer, I see you continually struggle to find your voice. Who knows if you will ever find it? I however, look at your work and know exactly the things I should never do in the future. You call that marketable? Wait, I have a great idea… Delete it all and start over from scratch.

It’s awful. And you’re not even close to finding your true identity as a photographer.

How in the hell do you expect to get actual paid client work with the garbage you’re shooting? Sure there are some good-looking folks in some of your well-lit shots, but does that make your photos exceptional? Does that make you the next best thing? Apparently everybody is the “next best thing” these days. Your work does not speak to me or stop me dead in my tracks.

Early on, you wanted to romanticize the photo industry and the esteemed status of being a photographer. Truth be told, it makes me sick to think about it. You came into the photo world with big naïve eyes, hoping to save the world with your undying love for your clients, your “passion” for making “awesome” photos or your ability to “capture true emotion.” You love being called an artist, but you seemingly fall short most times.

Go to your website. Just read your bio. Listen to yourself! You sound like a pompous assclown. Amidst your redundant words and poor grammar, I know you want to shoot weddings in exotic locations due to your availability to “travel worldwide”. Yet oddly enough, you’re still stuck shooting in some dimly lit catholic church or one of those typical VFW reception halls. Oh, sooooo glamorous. But you never seem to find the motivation or drive to push yourself hard enough to get to where you truly want to be.

Take a hard look at yourself. It’s not difficult to see that you have idolized the status of some, if not all of the “rockstar” photographers who spew their gospel out to the uninformed photographic masses. Yet you yourself seek to glean some magic bullet of success from these folks by buying into the shit they are selling you. Come on. You’re transparent and wear your true colors on your sleeve.

It’s clearly apparent you are a clone of hundreds, if not thousands of other photographers out there. You’ve made all the classic moves; a slick URL incorporating your name, cool clothes, half-assed DIY branding and a web-sized ego to boot. Let me guess? Now you have ambitions of selling your diatribe to other photographers at some point too. Perhaps you have a desire to teach a workshop? Maybe you even want to publish a book or release a DVD someday? You want the recognition and status of rubbing shoulders with those who’ve “made it” in the industry, but you’ve failed to look at the bigger picture. No one cares about you. What the hell makes you so special? You’re a newbie on the scene and that doesn’t give you the right to spew your awesomeness to the hungry. You play it off well, but I can clearly see through you and your need to gain some amount recognition.

But is it about recognition or the need to feel accepted? Probably a mix of both IMHO. (Oh, that abbreviation is cool web-lingo for your social media devotees). You probably stare into your iPhone endlessly waiting for comments to appear on your blog, Facebook page, Flickr or get mentioned on Twitter. Or better yet, you waste half your day on a photography forum expecting it to provide you with some sense of real community but never actually participate in pertinent discussions.

You’ve now made the shotgun decision to move into a studio space because you are in such HIGH demand. WOW! Good for you. I can see the clients stacking up at your door as I write this. They must all think you’re a REAL photographer now, huh? You have a brand new studio, complete with a comfy couch, a flat screen TV and that nausea-inducing hiptser vibe we’ve all come to love lately. What you didn’t see when moving into your space is the stress this will cause on you financially and the toll it will take on your family, your relationship with your spouse and your friends.

And friends? Do you still have any of those? I’m assuming they’re dwindling by the minute. And the ones you use to be tight with, you rarely see.

To others, you make it seem so easy. You make it look like a breeze to live up to your luxurious happy-go-lucky photographer lifestyle. At least that’s what it looks like on the outside. But on the inside it’s not so shiny, is it? You make it seem like everything is perfect, exciting and well in Happyphotorainbowland, USA. You always tell people you are SO BUSY and that business is GREAT, because it’s the easy way out. I’ve seen the Tweets. You know, the ones where you brag about the number of weddings you booked THIS WEEK ALONE! What you don’t tell people is the truth. You never mention the struggles of actually running a business and balancing your life in a healthy way.

The truth is, you lack direction. You feel uncertain with who you are. You find this awkward need to feel accepted by your peers. You are struggling with your photography every time you pick up a camera. You’re clients aren’t always as “amazing” as you make them seem throughout your false façade of social media ramblings. Running a business is tough and the thought of having to walk away from it is always on your mind. You’re work is nowhere near stunning. And you have a long way to go before you even begin to reach your goals. It’s the brutal truth.

In the big picture, you are one small component to dragging the entire photo industry down. It’s because of this, so many other people in the photo industry stand in line beside you in the same boring old category of just being average at best. You have big hopes and dreams, but time after time you fail to inspire me. In fact, I only expect you to fail entirely.

I bet at this point, you’re probably rolling your eyes and fairly irritated at my all-too-typical sentiment plaguing the photo industry on the internet these days. You know, bitch about this – complain about that… Unfortunately, I tend to speak the truth. And sometimes it bites me in the ass. But I needed to get this out of my system.

Are you still listening to me Mr. or Mrs. Local Photographer? If you are, perhaps you didn’t see the real bigger picture here. Although I am writing this letter to you, what you didn’t realize is that I’m speaking about someone I know extremely well.

I’m talking to you, David Jackson. This is an open letter to myself.

I’m that Local Photographer. And I’m calling myself out for my views, techniques and ideologies spanning the past 10 years of my career in photography. I’m not writing this to bash myself over the head, generate a pity party or for that matter carry the bright flaming torch for the entire photo industry. But rather I view this as a means of keeping myself in check.

Sometimes we find the desire to point fingers, push blame, complain and endlessly bitch about all things failing in our current industry. At other times we inflate ourselves to epic proportions and end up looking like babbling fools in the process. Yet all too often we forget to look inward – to take a close look at ourselves and examine the things we do to box ourselves into a corner and push others away. We forget that we all have room to grow, to be better at what we do. Making mistakes is part of the game. And I have made plenty and will continue to do so for the rest of my career.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at myself lately, determining that this mentality will cause all of us to eventually self-destruct. As hurtful as this letter comes across at face value, we can never change others. We can only change ourselves and grow on a personal level as photographers, artists and business people. I’m finding out it’s not about the other people though. It’s about you and I. I’ve made the mistakes. I’ve followed the sickening trends early on and unsuspectingly listened to the masses. But I’m the only one who can do what is right for me. I need to remind myself that coming into my own isn’t an overnight process. I’ve spent thousands and thousands of hours trying to find my voice and place within the industry. I have yet to even scratch the surface and I still have thousands of hours ahead of me.

However, if we as creatives muster the courage to be honest with ourselves and follow our hearts, then we’ve begun to make a step in the right direction. There’s no handbook issued to us at the beginning of our journey, outlining the right moves and keeping our heads safely above troubled waters. We have to forge our own path. We make our own decisions. We are the ones who need to be honest with ourselves.

And at the end of the day, that is the only thing that truly matters.

Your pal,
Dave

UNIVISION "Amor Canino" Parts 1 & 2 ~ Robyn Arouty Houston Pet Photographer

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When Mariana scheduled her POCKETSHOTS appointment, I had no idea that she would later be asking me to participate in a television interview. She explained that she was a journalist for UNIVISION, the local spanish tv station, & she was doing a 2 part series on responsible pet ownership. Her adorable yorkie puppy Asher inspired her to begin the project.

I was nervous when she asked me about 10 questions in front of the camera. I am a photographer, but an animal advocate first. So, I made sure to preach the spay/neuter word & encourage citizens to find homes for animals versus dumping them at BARC. Luckily those answers were chosen for this 2-day public service announcement.

Special thanks to Dulce Garcia for translating & transcribing both videos. Dulce is actually featured in Part 1 at the Houston SPCA. And, of course, thank you to Mariana for this wonderful opportunity!

(& BTW, please visit my website or feel free to email me @ robyn@arouty.com to schedule your POCKETSHOTS session!)

Here is the video for Part 1.

Here is the video for Part 2.


TRANSLATION PART 1:

Reporter: Pets form a part of our lives, but they also demand of our time.  Are you prepared for the responsibility that having a dog in your home implies? In the first part of our series “Canine Love,” Mariana Pineda presents to us all that represents adopting man’s best friend. 

Mariana:  The arrival of a new dog in your home is without doubt a happy moment and the most important thing is to create a trusting and loving environment. It is fundamental to allow it to explore the space where the pet will live and the needs it will require. 

They exist in all sizes large, medium and small. Some are furry and even with curly fur  and some with big eyes and flat faces.  Their colors vary depending on the breed, but they are all considered man’s best friend; a title that they have won because of their nobility and unconditional love.

Rosalinda: The love they give us is something that we can enjoy.   

Mariana : Why is it important to take care of animals?

Rosalinda: Because they are like humans, they are like children, they are like our daughters and sons that we don’t have, but we have our dogs. 

Mariana: Without a doubt dogs are loyal companions that require compromise whether it’s emotional or economical.  They demand our attention and dedication for at least 10, 15, and in the best cases, 20 years.    

Dulce (HSPCA): Pet owners should agree to be responsible. Pets are not a fashion accessory, it’s not about having a dog because my friend has one, or my children want a dog.  All people in the household should be sure and agree on having a pet so that it will not cause future problems.   

Mariana : Part of having dogs include distinct collars in different sizes, colors, and materials.  Although they are seen as an accessory they are not, they ‘re a component of the identification which can help prevent pets from becoming lost.  About 86% of animals that have an identification on their collar are reunited with their owners according to the Animal Service of America.

Mauricio Zepeda (Barc): They need to be identified by an id tag with their pone number, address or they need to be micro chipped to try to reunite them with their owners. 

Mariana: Veterinaries attribute a good diet, hygiene, and environment in the long life of a canine.  The basic elements of a good diet include: raw foods, fruits, and water should always be available.   

Dulce (HSPCA): It is important to pay attention to the changes in behavior of your dog and diet changes.  If your pet is obese or underweight it is important to take them to the vet and seek help.   

Mariana: Although many of us are tempted to share our table scraps and food with our canines it is not recommended.  What can be healthy for us can actually irritate their stomachs.

TRANSLATION PART 2:

Mariana: Thousands of dogs yearly become lost because they lack adequate identification. Many of them end up being sacrificed in animal shelters.  Fortunately there are people interested in the well being of these homeless dogs.  Although they don’t come with instructions we sought popular knowledge to elaborate on the care of our pets.   Asher is a 5 month old Yorkshire terrier despite his miniature size of only 3 pounds he possess a grand capacity of speed.  His breed is best known as the Yorkie, but his size does not go in relation with his intelligence because he is a very smart canine.  However, that doesn’t exempt him from ever becoming lost so Asher received his micro chip which was inserted in a few seconds.  In this way if he were to get lost he will be located and returned to his owner.  

Tim Kinsella (Friends of Barc): It’s a call away from home when a dog escapes his home and he doesn’t know he’s lost.  The micro chip is an advantage which only requires to be scanned and if it is registered under your name it will be returned to you. 

Mariana: According to the American Animal Association more than 10 million dogs become lost yearly turning them into another stray statistic.  This sad but true reality inspired photographer Robyn Arouty to achieve a noble cause for homeless dogs.  

Robyn: Pocketshots is an event I created to help animal welfare organizations and local animal shelters/rescues.  These organizations work rigorously to save homeless animals and without a doubt need economic help and this is how my idea was born.

Mariana: Robyn who confesses being a dog lover photographs dogs like Asher at least twice every month in efforts to save thousands of homeless animals on kill lists.  

Robyn: They have to euthanize the animals due to lack of space. So, please don’t abandon your animals there. Try to find temporary homes & spay and neuter your pets to control animal overpopulation

Mariana:  If Asher were abandoned on the streets it would most likely that he’d end up in a shelter like Barc who has a 600 capacity limit.  However because the margin often is surpassed many animals must be put down. 

Mauricio Zepeda (BARC): Sometimes it is necessary to euthanize them if they are suffering or there is no space, but we try to make that the last option. 

Mariana:  Canine Love is noble, sincere, and with no other interest tan to accompany their master and in return we must correspond by taking care of them or grooming their fur like Asher’s. Housetraining, training, and playing with them are also required so that they can be good dogs. 

Dulce:  If parents are not in agreement to get a new dog they should wait until their children are old enough to understand the responsibilities of owning a pet.  If they don’t wait the care of a dog can in turn become a burden to parents. 

Mariana:  Dogs give us love, friendship, and happiness, if you are ready to integrate a new member into your family consider organizations like BARC or HSPCA.  They have many dogs of different breeds available for adoption.

Achy Breaky Hearts.

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I researched pet cemeteries online yesterday. Jews normally don’t cremate their loved ones…at least that’s what I learned growing up. So, it only seemed fitting to bury her. I imagined going to visit her gravesite often…& cursing out loud because I outlived my baby…because she left me…because I couldn’t save her. I planned on taking a week off…to spend with my 4-legged family…afterall, “sitting shiva” is tradition when an immediate family member passes away in the jewish family. Friends come to pay their respects & bring food & cover the mirrors. I would wear a black ribbon pinned to my shirt…in memory…but more for people to stay the hell away from me during my time of bereavement. I would use this week to figure out how it was I would go on after losing my best friend. She gave me 10 lifetimes of happiness. She was my soul sister. My child. My therapist. My everything. I wanted 5 more years, dammit!!

I got up from the computer. Tissues in hand. It had been several days now of crying hysterically & I wanted to be prepared. I had made the decision to visit Maya at the hospital & tell her it was ok for her to let go. My gram & God would take good care of her…& one day we’d be together again. I thought for sure she was only hanging onto life for me. Because I wasn’t ready for her to go & she knew it. And I wasn’t. I’m not.

When I arrived, the technician ran into the room…she couldn’t wait to tell me the news…Maya had eaten a whole bowl of food! She appeared perkier & was walking around the room where they kept the kennels. What??? Sure enough. There she was…pacing around during our visit & eating some more chicken out of the bowl. There had definitely been a miracle. Sure, she still had the awful intestinal symptoms…but she was alive…& looking like the girl I knew. Wow.

Surreal is just not the word for how this feels. By the way, one of the founders of Gulf Coast is her vet. He knows Maya’s case like the back of his hand. He has consulted with other specialists & gone above & beyond to save this baby’s life. He spends at least an hour on the phone with me every day…giving me his thoughts, theories & plans for the next round of medications. Last nite on the phone he said he’d like to discharge her today…as a trial…to see how she does at home. The results of her biopsies are due back on Monday from Dallas. We will reevaluate her plans for treatment then. To answer the obvious question…yes, it’s very expensive. But I was saving money for a new studio. So, now I’m broke, but happy. Best money I ever spent. The new digs will just have to wait.

Maya is deaf. Has been for about the past year. She’s senile too and doesn’t recognize me anymore. Really she just wants to sleep most days…can’t be bothered with much & doesn’t crave my attention or kisses like the good ol’ days. She spent her entire life obsessing over tennis balls. I would wake up every morning with no less than 5 of them around my body. She was always ready to play. She could catch a frisbee 6 feet in the air without batting an eyelash. When I saw her at Special Pals that day in 1996, I knew she was my angel. She had been looked over for 4 months…ever since the owner of a breeding chinese crested was impregnated by a terrier from over the fence…the mother & litter were dumped at the shelter. Couldn’t make any money on the puppies & now the mama was dirty goods, I suppose. Maya was the only one left that hadn’t yet been adopted. There were all kinds of dogs available that day…but I walked straight to her. Despite the negative remarks from the staff about the way she looked…I fell in love with her right away. She hugged me when I took her out of the crate & she didn’t let go. Decided to name her Maya…after Maya Angelou…she deserved a beautiful & thoughtful name. That was 15 years ago. She’ll be 16 in December.

I see people dumping their senior pets at shelters all the time. It makes me sick to my stomach. But today that sickness has a new meaning. Maya gave everything to me all these years. It was my promise & now my duty to care for her…no matter what. I know for a fact that she would be dead right now if I hadn’t have taken her to the specialists at Gulf Coast. Most veterinary practices lack the equipment & know-how to diagnose this type of problem. And I think that some vets would have recommended euthanasia last week. Afterall, she lived a good life already, right?

I am so grateful for the support of my animal loving friends. I know it was your prayers that saved her. I asked you to pray for Beau after complications from surgery a few months ago. He survived. I asked you to pray for my puppy Diego. He & his sister are the only survivors out of a litter of 10. Your prayers answered again. Now Maya. And to those of you that asked me about “quality of life” or mentioned that “she’s lived a beautiful life”…not sure what to say. I’m not a quitter. And I don’t wish to kill my dog. I pray that she goes when it’s her time & she’s ready. I don’t want to be faced with a decision like that. It’s against everything I stand for. No disrespect to those who have chosen that route…it’s just that I cannot wrap my brain around it right now. I witnessed euthanasia one time. My sister’s dog. And I never want to do it again. My system can’t handle it & to me it feels unnatural.

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When I walked up to Gulf Coast today I recognized a couple getting in their car. Fast forward that mental rolodex quickly…ummm…oh! They were POCKETSHOTS clients from the doberman rescue event. They bought a huge print of them with their gorgeous smiling dobie boy…she couldn’t wait to run to the frameshop after leaving the studio that day. Wait. What the hell were they doing at Gulf Coast? Turns out that soon after the photoshoot, their baby went into the hospital for knee surgery. Afterwards, he was diagnosed with a blood disorder…can’t remember the name right now…but the bleeding won’t stop. They had to amputate his leg last week. So, here I was…2:00 on a sunny & breezy Saturday afternoon…opening the door to the hospital to pick up my baby who now has a second chance at living…only to hear this very sad tale. We cried together. I told them I’d post their photo & beg for people to pray for their baby too. Because it works.

Wish I had a crystal ball to know how long I have with Maya now. Monday we will get back the results of several biopsies. It will tell the doctors the exact source of the problems. She is not out of the woods yet. But for now…she’s curled up in my bedroom, under lots of blankets. A few minutes ago she was scratching on the door wanting to come out & see her brothers & sisters. I cried again.

Robyn Arouty Photography ~ Houston Pet Photographer ~ POCKETSHOTS April 16, 2011

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We raised $500 for the Lone Star Shih Tzu & Lhasa Apso Rescue last weekend! It was their second POCKETSHOTS event with us…& something tells me they’re getting ready to book another one…

Below are some of my favorite photos from the day. The backdrop is courtesy of Nicole…my wonderful & uber creative assistant. It’s a mixed media collage…measuring 12’ x 12’… It was a huge hit!

If you would like more information about POCKETSHOTS, please visit my website. Feel free to email me directly to schedule an appointment…robyn@arouty.com.

Thanks for stopping by!
 
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Robyn Arouty Photography ~ Houston Pet Photographer

We have completed 10+ very successful POCKETSHOTS events & raised $1,000’s for local animal welfare organizations! There’s lots more info about these events on my website…just click on the POCKETSHOTS tab & keep scrolling. POCKETSHOTS are now scheduled for the rest of the year…dates are all listed…pick a charity & sign up now! For appointments: please email robyn@arouty.com. Here are some photos from our most recent event with Rescue Bank. Enjoy!

Houston Children Photography

If you’re looking for something a little different in children’s portrait photography, you’ve come to the right place!

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