Lost Dog Found

This little cutie was found by one of my co-workers on 9/11/14 in the Jackman’s Fabric Store parking lot in Fairview Heights, IL. He is microchipped, but the owners never registered the chip in their name, so it comes back to the Missouri Humane Society. If you have any information about this dog’s owners, please send me a message and I will get you in touch with the person who is currently caring for him. Thank you!

Jackman Close Up Jackman in Crate Jackman with Football

Darling Dachshunds

As we pulled onto the fairground lot, there were Dachshunds as far as the eye could see. The first two beauties took our breath away as we stepped out of our car.  They both had luxurious, long hair that blew in the chilly September wind.

This was our very first trip to the Midwest Dachshund Festival!  The event is held annually at the Vermillion Fairgrounds in Oakville, Illinois.  I am very thankful to my father-in-law for loaning us his super-spiffy camera so that we could capture all of the wonderful doxiness.

 I had a blast at my first ever Dachshund Festival!


 Look at this gorgeous fur!


 All heads turned when this stroller arrived on the scene.  There are eight Dachshunds tucked inside!  The two at the top are both IVDD survivors who love to be chauffeured around.


 These glamour girls looked simply fabulous in their dresses and matching hats.


 Meet Daphne!  She is a double dapple Dachshund that lost one eye to cancer and is completely deaf.  But, she doesn’t let anything stop her from living her best life.


 I just love this little dapple doxie!



 One of my dreams came true that day.  I got to witness my first set of Weenie Races!


 “Are ‘ya coming?”


  The most weenspirational moment was when Shadow’s dad removed his cart about ¾ of the way into the race and Shadow walked, unassisted, over the finish line!  You rock, Shadow!

  We also picked up a custom made carry bag in a fun Dachshund for our own little ween bean, Hope.  As you can see, she loves it!

I cannot wait to return to the festival next year!

Medication Mystery

2014 has definitely been a year of transitions for me and my family. Aside from some wonderful job promotions, the biggest change has come in the form of a dog. My Grandmother has been battling Mantel Cell Lymphoma for three years now. She is doing a fantastic job and looks as gorgeous as ever.

What we were not expecting was for her to take a tumble at home. This fall landed her in the hospital for two weeks during the month of July. At 91 years old, the difficult decision was made to place my Grandmother in a nursing home. She needs to be in a place where she will have care 24/7.

That is when an even bigger issue arose. What will happen to Tiggy, her long-haired Chihuahua? Tiggy is an absolute sweetheart. I should know. My husband and I fostered Tiggy before introducing her to Grandma (who had begun to feel lonely after the passing of her beloved Benji).

Tiggy doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She gets along well with our pack, including our cat. And you barely even know that she is in the room. Still, taking on another dog was not in our master plan.

My Grandma was broken-hearted when she found out she could not take Tiggy with her to the nursing home. She was so worried that Tiggy would be given away to strangers. That is when she offered to pay for all of Tiggy’s care as long as we would let her live with us.

Tiggy has absolutely blossomed being around our dogs again. I think she is more of a dog person than a people person. I have managed to teach her to shake hands, though. She is slowly coming out of her shell and it is a very beautiful thing to watch.

Since we have such a large pack, purchasing flea/tick and heart worm medication is quite costly. I discovered a wonderful website: http://www.petmartpharmacy.com. All I had to do was create and account and provide my veterinarian information. Then, I simply select the desired medication, Petmart Pharmacy faxes the request to my vet and the vet sends them the “Okay.” Within five days, the medication is at my door (with a bone treat inside).

This website is much more cost effective than purchasing the same products at my vet’s office. And they have been so great to deal with. Most recently, I received a phone call from the pharmacy stating that the vet wanted to up Tiggy’s Advantage Multi dose from the 3-9 lbs. to the 9-20 lbs. This was going to be an additional $1 charge and they were checking to see if this was acceptable.

I was very puzzled. Theo, our long-haired Chihuahua, weighs 7 pounds, and he is much larger than Tiggy. I decided to go to my vet to see what had changed. Upon my arrival, I explained the situation to one of the front staff. The woman had a very snooty look on her face as if it pained her to speak with me.

She reluctantly pulled out the binder that the office keeps containing all faxed medication requests. Flipping quickly through the pages, she slammed her hand down and pointed to a number.

“Yes, I wrote 9.13. That is how much Tiggy weighs,” she sniffed.

“When was she weighed last?” I asked.

“Let’s see…December 2013.”

Really? She expected me to remember Tiggy’s weight from December 2013? I nodded and stated that I had just been confused because I thought she weighed the same as Theo and was concerned about overdosing.

“It’s better to overdoes than under dose. If you under dose, you might as well not give them (the dogs) anything at all,” she huffed.

What appalls me the most is the woman’s attitude. We have several friends that work in the office who treat us like rock stars. Even the vets smile when we walk in. Everyone loves us, so what is the deal with this lady?

And why would she ever even hint at me not properly taking care of an animal? That is the greatest insult anyone could ever give to me. Anyone who knows me knows that our animals live the most spoiled lives that they could ever live.

If I didn’t care about Tiggy, I wouldn’t have come in with questions. I would have simply said, “Sure,” to the Petmart Pharmacy people and possibly given her an overdose that could have had deadly consequences. Instead, I was searching for answers like a responsible pet parent.

My advice to other pet parents is do not be afraid to ask questions regarding your pet’s medication. If something has changed, you certainly have the right to know why. And do not be intimidated by any staff members. Remember, your money is allowing them to receive a paycheck.

Devilish Doxie

When we found out we were getting new neighbors, I was nervous. Not everyone loves our pack as much as we do. There are some people that just simply hate dogs and will look for any reason to get them banned from the surrounding area.

Imagine our surprise when we were introduced to Dolly*, a chunky brown-colored Dachshund. As you know, my husband and I recently adopted a double dapple Dachshund that was born without eyes and is completely deaf. We instantly bonded with Dolly and her owners.

I will admit that the first time we let our pack outside since Dolly’s arrival was quite noisy. We have worked very hard are raising polite pooches and we want to keep them that way. It wasn’t long before we found out that Dolly is a runner. She was used to living in the country where she could roam free whenever she wanted.

One bright Saturday morning, I happened to be placing my breakfast dishes in the sink when I see a streak of brown fly by the kitchen window. Sure enough, it was Dolly racing across the street. Horrified, Matt and I threw on whatever shoes we could find and raced outside to help catch Dolly. We definitely did not want to see her get squished. And the people that drive down our street do NOT obey the speed limit.

Dolly’s mom and Matt managed to corner her in a fellow neighbor’s yard. I had just run back inside to use a bag of dog treats as bait. Dolly’s mom thanked us over and over and swore that they would be getting an invisible fence.

My heart fell. While I understand that they wish to protect Dolly, I do not believe that shocking an animal is the best way to do it. I realize that fences are expensive, but Dolly was simply doing what she had always been allowed to do before: run free. Now, they plan on punishing her for being “disobedient”?

Since my husband works late, I am responsible for “releasing the hounds,” as we say, in the evening. I had just let them outside and went back in the house so that I could get their dinner ready. All of a sudden, my fur babies were going absolutely crazy! I feared that another sick raccoon had wandered into our yard.

I threw open the door and ran outside. Keep in mind, I was in my pajamas, complete with fuzzy slipper socks and wet hair. What I saw completely infuriated me. There was Dolly on a long lead, like the ones used for outdoor dog ties. This would have been a wonderful idea had our neighbors not allowed the lead to come all the way over to our fence.

Yes, Dolly was nose to nose with every member of the pack (minus Hope). And what was Dolly’s dad doing? Sitting outside on a lawn chair, talking on his cell phone as if nothing was happening. I don’t know how in the world he could have possibly heard anything.

While our fur babies are typically very friendly, they also tend to be territorial when in the backyard. I was so afraid that Theo (the leader of the pack) would feel threatened and try to take a bite out of Dolly. I tried calling their names, but they were too distracted to even notice me. And we had recently run out of dog treats. In my desperation, I raced into the kitchen and found a box of uncooked pasta shells. I headed to the back door and frantically shook the box.

That did the trick. They all came running…except for Theo. Once everyone was safely inside, I went out and physically picked Theo up. Dolly’s dad was still on his phone. I was beyond mad, but felt like I should try to make peace. I discovered a box of treats in the basement and took one out to Dolly, apologizing for all of the noise. Her dad laughed and said not to worry.

What I was wondering was why wasn’t HE apologizing to ME? And why on earth did he think it was a good idea to let her lead come up to our fence? Technically, the fenced in area is our property. And I don’t want Ms. Dolly thinking she can cause a riot whenever she wants.

Since this incident, I always check to see if Dolly is outside. If she is, I wait until her parents take her back in. It is clear that they are not going to keep her under control, so I have to look out for my babies.

But this all pales in comparison to what happened this morning. I was putting on my make-up in the bathroom, as usual. That’s when I heard Dolly. She was on a non-stop barkfest. Thankfully, our babies had already been outside. However, when Domino heard Dolly, he began to bark. This caused Penny to bark…then Theo, etc. I managed to quiet them down, but Dolly continued with her cater walling. It was 6:45 a.m.

I just so happened to look out of the bathroom window in time to see Dolly racing across the back alley. I waited to see if her owner was following her. She never appeared. Dolly then made a beeline for our carport. I am guessing that she smelled our babies and thought she would pop over for a visit.

“That’s great,” I said.

Matt, who was trying to get some extra sleep, came stumbling in. “What’s going on?”

“Dolly is loose…again.”

He grumbled and soon reappeared wearing shorts and flip flops.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m going to go catch that dog,” he replied.

He soon returned…dogless.

“Well, Dolly’s mom is on an important conference call and can’t be bothered to catch Dolly,” Matt informed me.

We couldn’t believe it. What kind of pet parent wouldn’t put everything on hold to save their fur baby’s life? A conference call? Really? What if this would have been a human child? DCFS would have swooped in in a heartbeat. I think animal neglect should be no different.

Matt had given up on trying to catch Dolly for the time being. I had headed into the kitchen to grab my lunch and head off to work. Who did I see running across the street? Yep, Ms. Dolly.

“Now she’s in the street!” I cried.

I decided to play it safe and ask Matt to come outside with me and watch me back out of the carport. I didn’t want to accidentally run over Dolly. As we walked out, Dolly’s mom FINALLY emerged, curlers in hair, bathrobe tossed carelessly around her.

“Come here, Dolly. I have your bone,” she kept repeating. She then looked up at us, waved and told me to have a good day at work.

Matt stood dutifully in the alley and watched as I slowly backed up. Dolly’s mom was STILL trying to contain her. I drove off enraged. We should not have to worry about the neighbor’s dog. We have enough to worry about with our own pack.

I was halfway to work when I realized that I had forgotten my earrings in all the commotion. I tried to call Matt to see if he could drop them by on his way to work. He never answered either of his phones. When he did return my call, he apologized and explained that he had gone back outside to aid in Dolly’s capture.

I really hope that this is not going to be a new trend with Dolly and her parents. They need to take responsibility for her. We should not be made to feel that we are the only ones who care about Dolly and her safety. Suddenly, that invisible fence isn’t looking so cruel after all.

*Name has been changed

Deformed Darlings

As you all know, I am a HUGE animal lover.  Not only do I love to rescue dogs and cats (just one cat for now), but I also enjoy learning about other ways to help our furry friends.  Finding free apps on iTunes, such as Pawcard, attending animal themed charity walks, reading books and magazines; I enjoy it all.


More recently, I have taken a liking to help deformed/disabled “special needs” animals.  I suppose it all started when my husband and I adopted Penny, our tripod Chiweenie.  At first, I was a bit put off by her deformed front paw.  I did not think that Penny was ugly; I was simply uncomfortable at seeing something so different.  But something in my heart kept telling me that we were the only ones that could give Penny the loving home she so rightfully deserved.


Meeting Penny in person was all that it took.  Watching her hop around while wagging her tail brought joy to my soul.  After just two months, we stopped viewing Penny as “special needs” because she can do everything that her four-legged fur siblings can.  And then there is the amazing pet gate jumping video.  


If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0bVijS9JTw


My husband uncovered one my deep hidden secrets:  I love dachshunds!  I had always wanted one and felt that the time was right to adopt one in March of this year.  That is when I discovered Hope.  She is a gorgeous double dapple doxie that was born without eyes and is completely deaf.  And she just happened to be the product of a backyard breeder.


While working with Hope has been challenging, it has also been greatly rewarding.  She can now navigate through the house without bumping into walls, climb up the basement stairs and even open the closet door with her nose!  I can certainly see why they call special needs dogs “special.”


On one of my dog video searches on YouTube, I came across National Mill Dog Rescue.  They are a rescue group whose sole mission is to help end puppy mills all across the United States.  Their mascot is an adorable Chihuahua named Teddy.  He is a puppy mill survivor that was extremely malnourished, had eye ulcers and rotting teeth.  


Thankfully, he was rescued by National Mill Dog Rescue and has since been adopted into a loving home.  Teddy is now trying to help spread the word about the importance of ending the horrible practice of puppy mills.  I noticed a post from Teddy in my Facebook feed on Tuesday that he was teaming up with Harley.  Harley is a fellow puppy mill survivor that had to have one of his eyes removed due to severe infection.  Imagine my shock and outrage when I read the following:


“My friend Harley was told by Modern Dog Magazine that he is too old and ugly to appear on their cover.”


WHAT?!  “Too old” and “ugly?”  This dog is a survivor.  He has quite literally been through hell and back just to be told that he is not “good enough” to be on the cover of a magazine that is supposed to help educate others about taking care of their pets.


Do we tell women who have survived breast cancer due to having a mastectomy that they are “ugly?”  No, we treat them as inspirations.  Would you ever dream of telling a child who has lost his/her hair due to chemo therapy that they are “ugly?” How about people in wheelchairs or those with prosthetic limbs?  Where do they fit in on Modern Dog Magazine’s beauty scale?


I shutter to think about the implications of a dog being “too old.”  Does this mean that Modern Dog Magazine would have pet owners discard their dogs when they grow older?  Our humane societies are filled with animals that have been surrendered by their owners because they are “too old.”  These people then turn around and buy a puppy.  Is this how we treat humans?  Why is this practice deemed “acceptable” in a majority of minds?


What kind of example is Modern Dog Magazine setting?  They are only aiding in teaching our children to believe in extremely unrealistic beauty standards that simply do not exist.  And they obviously do not carry the view that a dog is a member of the family. Would you think of cutting your mother or father or grandparent out of your life because they are old? 


This kind of prejudice simply cannot be allowed.  ALL dogs are beautiful and deserve to have loving homes.  It is time to break the stigma that differently-abled means broken.  Penny and Hope are two of the happiest, friendliest dogs that you will ever meet.  Whenever we go to pet events, people pass by our four-legged babies and go straight to them.  They want to hear about their stories.  Many have even asked which rescue groups Hope and Penny came from because they are thinking about adopting a special needs dog as well.


To further prove how wrong Modern Dog Magazine is, Penny recently won first place in the 2nd Chance Animal Rescue-IL Most Photogenic Dog of 2014 photo contest.  She was also a finalist in the Share the Spotlight Contest with InstaCredit Automart.  This is why publishing Penny’s children’s book, Priceless Penny, is so important to me.  Through sharing Penny’s amazing adoption journey, we hope to show the world that different is beautiful and nothing is impawsible.  Please visit her official website at:  www.pricelesspennyp.com to learn more.


As animal lovers and advocates, we need to take a stand against such prejudiced beliefs.  Please, help Teddy, Harley, Penny, Hope and other dog survivors to be recognized as the wonderful creatures that they are.  Let Modern Dog Magazine know exactly how you feel by e-mailing them at:  info@moderndogmagazine.com.  Together, we can give a voice to the voiceless!


Exasperating Expo

I had been waiting for the pet expo since December 2013. The weekend had finally arrived and I was pumped. I was also excited to debut my newest pet parent shirt that reads: “Yes…I do love my dog as much as you love your child.” 


My husband and I had gotten up early (which is quite the rarity for us). I just knew that the parking lot would be packed and I wanted to be assured a spot. Penny, our beautiful tripod, and Hope, our blind/deaf double dapple doxie, seemed to be excited, too. Once Penny’s harness and leash were on, she began running around the house, wagging her tail wildly.


We drove for 45 minutes before we finally arrived at the convention center. Little did we know that an Anime Convention was taking place the same day! Penny hopped out of the car and raced toward the building. Compliments from unique Anime characters soon followed.


Carefully, we wound our way through the crowd to the sign in table. My husband began to fill out the mandatory waiver form. Then, one of the volunteers said, “Vaccination records, please.”

WHAT? We had to bring our dog’s vaccination papers with us? Matt tried to reason with the volunteer and asked if their new rabies tags were proof enough. She shook her head and said, “No, we need the records.”


I was shocked and angry. Who carries around their pets’ medical records with them everywhere they go? Nowhere on the hosting rescue group’s website did it mention that these records were needed. The woman looked at us with a “what are you going to do” look.


The way I saw it, we had several options:

1. One of us could go into the expo while the other sat outside with the dogs.

2. We could go home and bring the vaccination records (and the dogs) back.

3. We could go home and drop off the dogs and come back.


We decided to go with option #3. On the way home, we had a very heated discussion about the ridiculousness of having to bring vet records. I know that not everyone keeps their pets’ records in a binder like we do. I just happen to be a person that is obsessed with organization. Finding the records was not the issue. The issue is that this was not listed as a requirement in order to bring your pets.

My husband and I have been to many an expo. One other event tried to require such records. Do you know how long that lasted? Not even a year. The hosting site tried it once and quickly abandoned the idea.


People come from all over to attend these expos. Can you imagine if someone traveled for hours with their pet just to be told they needed papers that were back at home? What about all of the gas running to and fro?  And how come the rabies tags are good enough for the county, but not for the hosting group?


When we arrived home, Hope had become quite anxious. She is not a fan of car rides since she cannot see or hear. I located their records and noticed that their shots would be expiring in October 2014. Something told me that this wasn’t going to be good enough for the snooty volunteer. I could just see her saying that the records were from 2013 and needed to be dated 2014. We made the decision to leave our dogs at home, much to my dismay. I was looking forward to socializing our babies (and getting more compliments).


Just to make sure that I wasn’t crazy, I pulled up the rescue’s website. I scrolled down to the flier about the expo and I was right! There was no mention of needing anything in order to bring your pets. I even went to their Facebook page to see if a special announcement was made. Nope! I printed off the page from their website. I wanted the group to know that we were not trying to buck the system.


By the time we returned to the expo, we had lost an hour. I guess it didn’t do us any good to get up early after all. The snooty volunteer whispered to another volunteer, “They came back.”

Well, it is nice to know that our support of your rescue group is appreciated! We quickly signed the waivers. My husband then pulled one of the male volunteers aside. He explained that we were greatly inconvenienced by having to go back home in order to locate the records when they were not listed as being necessary for the event. The man apologized and said that “they had been getting that a lot.” He then stated that he had put a call in to have someone from their group place it on their Facebook page ASAP.


What good does that do if you are already in route to the event? Or at the event like we were? And he is assuming that everyone checks their Facebook updates in the morning. You should not have to double and triple check to see if an event’s rules have changed.


Personally, I think that since it wasn’t listed as a requirement, we should have been let in. What kind of irresponsible pet parents would we be to bring our fur babies to a place with strange animals if they were not properly vetted? I understand why the group was requiring the records, but they have had months to get this information across to attendees. Someone dropped the ball and is making the possible adopters/rescue supporters pay the price.


I have to admit that we were greatly disappointed in what we saw. They had listed crafts, training and more. All we saw was a lot of adoptable animals and some tables selling junk. I think that this event probably should have been labeled as an Adopt-a-thon instead of an expo. Then only the people interested in adopting animals would have been enticed to come and we wouldn’t have wasted our time.


Additionally, none of the sellers took debit cards! Everything was cash only. We rarely carry cash. Now we were going to be hit with ATM fees that we had not planned on. Not to mention that all of the merchandise was outrageously expensive. Some rescue groups wanted $20 for a t-shirt! I understand that the money goes to support great causes, however, we have been to other rescue sponsored events where the items were much more reasonably priced (and I could buy a ton of stuff).


My advice to other future pet expo attendees would be to always keep a copy of your pets’ most recent vaccinations on hand.  Hopefully, you will not find yourself in a similar situation.  But, if you do, you will be prepared.

Priceless Penny’s Journey

This video montage chronicles the amazing adoption journey of our three-legged Chiweenie, Penny. Even though Penny has a severe overbite and deformed front paw, she doesn’t let anything stop her from living her best life! Be sure to check out Penny’s official website at: http://www.pricelesspennyp.com.

Tricky Tripods

One evening my husband began to tell me about a contest that he had heard about on the radio.  InstaCredit Automart was having a photo contest and the winner would get to be in the next InstaCredit Automart commercial!  We looked at each other and said, “Penny!”


She is our adorable tripod baby that was born with a deformed front paw and a severe overbite.  Aside from being the gorgeous girl that she is, Penny is also super friendly.  She loves everything and everybody.  In fact, she practically raised the cat that we rescued off of the street as a two week old kitten.


Young and old alike cannot seem to get enough of her.  Everyone is always surprised at the softness of her fur.  She might just be the softest dog in the world.  We had no doubt that Penny could win.


I uploaded a photo of Penny in her Christmas dress to the InstaCredit Automart Facebook page.  Then, I began my ruthless social media campaign.  I posted the link on my Facebook page, Penny’s Facebook page, my twitter page, Penny’s twitter page, my Instagram, Penny’s Instagram…


The votes began to come rolling in.  Like any good pet parent, I was checking her totals every day…sometimes twice!  As the numbers climbed higher, I felt more confident that Penny would be crowned the winner.


Soon, I was fantasizing about what could happen to Penny if she won.  She would be asked to be a spokes dog for Purina, get her face on bags of dog food, be the guest of honor at dog events like Bark in the Park.  After that, she would be asked to appear on the Today Show to explain her incredible adoption story.  This news would spread to the beloved Ellen DeGeneres, who would soon book us for her show.  Penny and I would get to live the dream of traveling the country spreading her message that different is beautiful and nothing is “impawsible.”


On June 2nd, I received a phone call from InstaCredit Automart.  Penny was a finalist!  We were invited to the Ultimate Pet Play Date where she would compete with the other finalists for the coveted commercial spot.  The weather that day was anything but supportive.  We got caught in two torrential downpours on our drive there.


We arrived early (as usual) and decided to sit in our car until the event official kicked off.  Naturally, we went into full-on pageant parent mode.  We silently judged Penny’s competition that began to fill the parking lot.  Honestly speaking, I thought Penny was a shoe-in.


We headed into InstaCredit Automart and waited for the contest to begin.  Dogs of all shapes and sizes were everywhere.  Most of the owners were in competition mode and did not really mingle with the other pet parents.  That didn’t bother Penny one bit.  Her tail never stopped wagging.


She happily sniffed each pooch that passed by.  She even got sniffed by Buckley Jr. and Buckley himself.  In case you aren’t familiar with these dogs, they are the “famous” InstaCredit Automart dogs.  Buckley’s handler kept bringing him past Penny.  I took this as a very good sign.


Before I knew it, it was time to line up to be judged.  The announcer began to tell everyone the rules.  The dogs were going to be judged on a 15 point system:  friendliness, presence on camera…and agility.  My heart dropped.  They wanted the dogs to perform tricks!


I was livid.  Nowhere in the rules did it mention tricks.  I frantically began to ask my husband if I should make Penny stand up at the end of the “red carpet” and make her dance for a treat.  We agreed to just let Penny be Penny and see what would happen.


We have not trained Penny to perform any tricks since she is a tripod dog.  The issue isn’t that she cannot perform tricks.  She jumps over our 3 foot pet gate on her own!  The issue is that we love Penny and know that her three “good” legs have to work much harder than a “normal” dogs’ in order to compensate for her “stump.”  This puts extra pressure on her joints since the weight isn’t evenly distributed.  


Also, she is part Dachshund and we are trying to be very careful with her back.  My friend had a doxie that slipped a disc.  The surgery cost $5,000!  While we would do anything for our fur babies, we would rather not take the chance of injuring them.


Penny did her very best as she strutted down the red carpet.  She even stopped to sniff the judges.  We stood by the front doors, watching and waiting.  Suddenly, a little fluff ball of a dog came running over to Penny.


“Oh, my gosh!  She’s a tripod, too!” squealed the dog’s owner.  The tiny long-haired Chihuahua’s name was Lena.  She had to have her front right leg amputated due to abuse from her former owner.  Lena was a smiling ball of energy.  I could see why she bonded with Penny.  And her owners were thrilled to meet another tripod pooch.  We took several pictures of Lena and Penny together.  You can check them out on Penny’s website at:  www.pricelesspennyp.com.


We turned our attention back to the contest just in time to see Boomer, a homely looking Boxer, come schlepping down the carpet.  That’s when the show began.  His owner dropped to her knees and proceeded to have Boomer give her a high-five, dance and do the exploding fist bump.  I knew at that moment we were toast.


As they began to announce the winners, I saw several of the judges look at me and Penny.  They started talking to each other and I thought that we might still have a chance.  Little Miss Lena won second place!  My husband instructed me not to scream as he figured that Penny won first place.


My heart was beating wildly in my chest.  I was ready to parade Penny up in front of the judges and pose for pictures. 


“And our first place winner is…Boomer!”


WHAT?!  There had to be some sort of mistake.  While I understand that every pet parent knows that his/her baby is the cutest, I can honestly say that this dog was very plain.  And I am not speaking as a sore loser.  I even told my husband that I would have been completely happy if any other dog would have won.  There was an adorable miniature Greyhound, a dazzling Yorkie, the list goes on.  Why Boomer was picked as a finalist in a photo contest, I will never understand.


This brings me to my major complaint:  Boomer won because of the tricks that he performed.  I do not feel that this was fair.  A dog should not be judged on what types of tricks it can do unless the contest is specifically for tricks.  This was supposed to be a photo contest.  The dog’s personality was supposed to be judged to assure that he/she would get along with the InstaCredit Automart dogs that he/she would be filming with.  But, they chose to boil it all down to tricks.


Penny is such an inspiration.  She doesn’t need any tricks or gimmicks to make her special or unique because she already is.  Abandoned as a stray in California, Penny has remained sweet to everyone that she meets, even though she had been tossed aside like garbage.  Being born with several deformities doesn’t stop her from doing anything that a “normal” dog can do.  She continues to amaze us daily with the power of her loving spirit.


We don’t need to win a contest to validate how wonderful Penny is.  We have the honor of getting to experience Penny every day.  Our lives were forever changed for the better the day that we made her a part of our furry family.