Pet of The Week: Sheldon Collins Dornak (March 22, 2014)

For those of you who follow the Narnia Chronicles you may recall a little lady who at the time was 10 month old.  She was a cutie patootie  Australian Cattle dog…who went by the name of…PENNY.

Which bring to mind the all too familiar greeting:

dec3_penny

Now all these months later, it’s beyond fantastic to introduce you to this weeks Pet of the Week…

Sheldon Collins Dornak.

keep-calm-and-bazinga-39

Are you ready?  Get set, here he is.

Sheldon

Perfection.

 

Its all about meDog Name: Sheldon

Guardian’s Name: Kevin Collins and Jason Dornink

Dog Age: 1 year old

Dog Breed: Australian Shepard Mix

Siblings:  I had an older sister Silky, a husky that died before I came to live with Kevin and Jason.

Classes attended/attending: Beginning Obedience

Rescue or Shelter Name My Guardians found me at: Hinsdale Humane Society

 peqycorto....lindo

1.   How I picked my family: They came to the humane society and we saw each other, however another family was interested in me, but I convinced the adoption counselors to talk that family out of adopting me so that I could go with Kevin and Jason.

This was the day I first met Kevin and Jason. They took me for a walk after they told the adoption counselor to start the paperwork.

This was the day I first met Kevin and Jason. They took me for a walk after they told the adoption counselor to start the paperwork.

2.  When I grow up I want to be : a magician, I have been practicing my escape tricks and they are getting really good. 

3.  If you asked my family they would say I am: Challenging, yet adorable

Relaxing with Kevin before he has to leave for work, or I’m trying to keep him  home.

Relaxing with Kevin before he has to
leave for work, or I’m trying to keep him
home.

4.  My nickname is: Houdini because I escaped out of my crate twice and also broke out of the basement while my dad’s were at work.

I do not like be left home alone and when I couldn’t escape my crate I pushed the  tray out so my paws would go to the  floor, so I could move around the room.

I do not like be left home alone and when
I couldn’t escape my crate I pushed the
tray out so my paws would go to the
floor, so I could move around the room.

5.  I look really cute when I: cuddle up with either one of my daddies.

6.  The biggest mess I ever made was: When Kevin and Jason came home from a Super Bowl party. I had a couch cushion torn up throughout the house, I chewed on a picture frame, left a remote control in pieces, and pulled parts of the plants apart.

7.  The first thing I ate  I wasn’t supposed to: a back scratcher made of wood.

Relaxing with Jason on a Lazy Saturday afternoon.

Relaxing with Jason on a Lazy Saturday
afternoon.

Don’t even think about taking my toy

Don’t even think about taking my toy

8.  The one time I was a hero was: When I came to live with Kevin and Jason, because they were really sad at the loss of my big sister Silky, a husky, that I never got to meet.

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This is my other spot when I’m not sleeping on the ottoman.

9.  The reason I love coming to Narnia for classes is: The trainers have the best treats, better than what I get at home.

10. I am really good at: Escaping out of my crate or opening the basement door.

11.  I am sometimes afraid of: Being left alone, Kevin and Jason are the fifth place I have lived including the shelter and I am only a little over a year old.

Hanging on the couch with Jason

Hanging on the couch with Jason

12. The one thing I can’t resist is: picture frames or remote controls.

13.  My toughest challenge so far has been: understanding why every other dog won’t play with me.

This is right after I got to my new home after going to the vet.

This is right after I got to my new home
after going to the vet.

14.  If I spoke my voice would sound just like (name of person) Jim Parsons and the first thing I would say is:

bazinga--big-bang-theory-bleed-art

 

Working on my Dos Equis Pose.

Working on my Dos Equis Pose.



favorite-things-logo-copy

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite place to sleep is: On the ottoman.

My favorite holiday is: Anyone that will allow people to come around and pet me.

My best friend is: Kevin and Jason

Yes? Do you want something?

Yes? Do you want something?

My favorite treat: The ones the trainers have at Narnia

My favorite toy: It’s a toss between my rope bone and my squeaky chicken

My favorite television show is: The Big Bang Theory

My favorite season of the year is: I have only lived with Kevin and Jason during the winter and I can tell you I do not like the cold.

Its rough being me.

Its rough being me.

My favorite trip was when we went to: Any time I get to go Aunt Staci’s house. I get to play with my cousins, Rascal who is a

Jack Russell Pug and Figment who is a Boston Terrier Mix

My favorite quote is: “You’re in my spot”

My favorite playtime activity: Tug of war

One of my favorite things to do, play tug of war.

One of my favorite things to do, play tug
of war.

My favorite canine movie is: I can’t sit still long enough to watch a movie. I get that from my Daddy Jason.

 we are family

Please share something that you learned from your dog and what they have meant to your family.

We have only had Sheldon for a month, but his older sister was with us for 11 years and he has

filled the hole that was there when she left us. We realized how much we needed a dog in our

lives and he has become our best buddy in the month that he has lived with us.

 

If the dog is a rescue/shelter dog, please share any of his/her past story.

Sheldon’s was originally owned by a young couple that named him Banjo. They then had a baby and moved to a place where they could not have a dog. They sent him to live with one of their parents, but they could not handle puppy energy and so they gave him to their uncle who cared for him for a while. He then moved back into the home with the young couple that originally owned him for a short time before they realized they couldn’t care for him, so they took him to the Humane Society. When we went to adopt him, another family was interested in him, until they heard his history and they were afraid they would not be able to handle him. When we heard the history, we immediately thought of his older sister who was also a rescue. We were her third home and while she did know how to behave right away, but with training and attention she became a great dog. We realized that we could do the same for Sheldon.

 

How/Why the dog’s name was chosen:

The adoption counselor described him as being really smart, but needed to learn better manners. We stopped at the pet store on the  way home because we needed a new collar, toys, and treats. While looking at the collars we saw one that said Bazinga and immediately thought of the name Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. If you are not familiar with the Big Bang Theory, Sheldon is one  of the characters that is extremely smart, but does not always know how to act properly.

What is the most important point you learned about your relationship with your dog did you learn from your class time at Narnia?

Our last dog was trained by an old school methodology with a choke collar and it has been really fun taking a class where you learn to think like the dog and find out what motivates them to do good, instead of punishing them when they do something wrong.

What is it about their particular breed that you are fond of?

We are very fond of his playfulness as well as his mischievousness. It is fun to think about what you might come home to find him doing or have done, such as breaking out of the basement or his crate.

I’m warn out after playing with my cousins Rascal and Figment.

I’m warn out after playing with my
cousins Rascal and Figment.

 

 Thank you to Kevin, Jason and the wonderfully brilliant Sheldon for participating in this weeks interview.  We wish you all the best

Sheldon and I bet before your second birthday rolls around, you’ll have plenty of friends.

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Pet of The Week: Finnegan Oscar Erickson: (March 15, 2014)

I am not always this serious, but when I am, I look like this.

I am not always this serious, but when I am, I look like this.

How to get adopted by Finnegan Oscar Erickson:

1. Scope out the adopters for a “cuddly looking mom”.

2. Zero in on said looking cuddly looking mom with your baby blue eyes.

3. When you have locked in a gaze with cuddly looking mom with your baby blue eyes, turn on the puppy face.

4. Soft body and prepare to be scooped up.

5. Lean into cuddly looking mom’s body and enjoy the cuddly.

6. Slowly look upward into the eyes of cuddly looking mom and sigh, before relaxing like pudding back into cuddly looking moms arms.

7. When cuddly looking mom asks, “would you like to go home with us?”, again make eye contact, gentle sigh, and nuzzle cuddly looking mom with muzzle.

8. Wag tail like a helicopter propeller as you wait for Mom and Dad to sign papers, you just scored your new home.

9.  On way to vehicle, break out the  Snoopy Dance, you just scored your new home.

10. Sleep like a champ on the ride home, soak up the love.

"I'm ready for my close up."

“I’m ready for my close up.”

It'sAllAboutMeTshirt

 Finnegan Oscar Erickson

My nickname is: Finney

Guardian’s Name: Jennifer & Jonathan Erickson

Dog Age: 7.5 months

Dog Breed: Weimaraner (AKC page)

Siblings:  Canine: Brother Duke   Sister Jenna,  Human: Brother, Christopher

Classes attended/attending: Manners & Self Control; Beginning Nose Work

Chasing my Brother Duke

Chasing my Brother Duke

peqycorto....lindo

~Ten Questions with Master Finnegan Oscar Erickson~

When I grow up I want to be : A well behaved member of my family, I would also like to jump over everything so I’m thinking agility.

Face plant.  "Whoa, Duke, thats gotta hurt."

Face plant. “Whoa, Duke, thats gotta hurt.”

If you asked my family they would say I am: A troublemaker

I look really cute when I: Sleep

Naptime with Dad

Naptime with Dad

The biggest mess I ever made was: I stole a cardboard box out of the garbage and shredded it all over the house. I do these fairly often so I make big messes all the time!

The first thing I ate that I wasn’t supposed to: A piece of my Mom’s favorite Cheddar

The reason I love coming to Narnia for classes is: I love learning new things and I get lots of treats! And this weekend I was able to play a sniffing game and I was so excited I was sniffing the closed door to get a head start.

Searching for the Great Pumpkin in the patch

Searching for the Great Pumpkin in the patch

I am really good at: Finding treats and tearing up paper/cardboard of any kind.

I am sometimes afraid of: Loud noises

The one thing I can’t resist is: Jumping on my brother Duke when he comes in the house

My best imitation of Dumbo!

My best imitation of Dumbo!

I think my siblings (canine/human) are: Fabulous

My future is so bright I have to wear shades

My future is so bright I have to wear shades

My toughest challenge so far has been: Laying down when my parents ask me to.

Its a furry pretzel, its a pile of laundry, its Finnegan!   Sleeping in his favorite spot.

Its a furry pretzel, its a pile of laundry, its Finnegan!
Sleeping in his favorite spot.

A Few of My Favorite Things

My favorite place to sleep is: In bed with my Mom and Dad.  I look so cute sleeping.

A moment of peace

A moment of peace

My favorite holiday is: Not sure yet, I’m still kind of young.

My best friend is: My brother Duke, I kiss him and hug him and steal all of his toys, I like to snuggle with him when he lets me.

"Look Mom, I am almost all grown up."

“Look Mom, I am almost all grown up.”

My favorite treat: I really like Peanut Butter

My favorite toy: Anything that I can tear the squeaky thing out of.

"Not me.  Did you ask Duke?"

“Not me. Did you ask Duke?”

My favorite television show is: Dawson’s Creek because when mommy watches it we can snuggle on the couch.

My favorite season of the year is: Winter, I don’t have much fur but I love the snow.

Whoa!  Move out of the way...Super Puppy coming through.

Whoa! Move out of the way…Super Puppy coming through.

My favorite trip was when we went to: Goose Lake Prairie near my house, I get to run around and smell all sorts of new things.

My favorite quote is: What’s a quote?

Is this space taken?

Is this space taken?

My favorite playtime activity: Playing Tug with anyone, anytime.

My favorite canine movie is: They make movies with dogs?

we are family

How/Why the dog’s name was chosen: I wanted to name him Oscar and he was called that for a few days but my husband didn’t think it fit him so my next favorite was Finnegan. I was just looking through names and it jumped out at me, really seemed to fit him.

What is the most important point you learned about your relationship with your dog did you learn from your class time at Narnia? Having fun while training is very important. I researched other training methods and they did not seem to fit Finn he is very sensitive and needs positive reinforcement and patience while training.

What is it about their particular breed that you are fond of? Finnegan has an amazing personality, we love that he is always happy and loving. He is very intelligent so we have puzzle games to keep him occupied on days when his energy level is on the high side.

Will this be posted on Instagram?

Will this be posted on Instagram?

Thank you to  Finnegan, Duke and Jennifer & Jonathan Erickson for your participation in this weeks interview.  Congratulations on your selection as Pet of The Week, we wish you continued success in all your endeavors.

Pet of the Week: Laci Roxanna Larsen (December 28, 2013)

Narnia proudly presents this weeks Pet of the Week, Laci Roxanna Larsen

Laci Roxanna Larson

Dog Name: Laci Roxanna Larsen (I was named Roxanna after my Boxer sister who went to the Rainbow

Bridge in May. Mom and Dad say I act an awful lot like her.)

Guardian’s Name: Jeff & Michelle Larsen

Dog Age: 5 months as of December 11, 2013

Dog Breed: Great Dane

Laci playing in the yard Sept. 3, 2013

Laci playing in the yard Sept. 3, 2013

Siblings: (human, canine, feline, other): Fur-Sister: Lexi, 12 y.o. Siberian Husky

Classes attended/attending: Basic Obedience (Graduated December 17, 2013) Manners & Self Control

Class starting in January 2014

Sports I participate in: Are tug-o-war or annoy my fur-sister sports?

My best friend is: My sis Lexi and of course, Mom and Dad

Laci and Lexi playing Tug

Laci and Lexi playing Tug

There were 8 pups.  Of the 8, 3 were merle. Laci was the only mantled merle of the bunch and it was love at first sight.  She was the pick of the litter. 

TheseAreAFewOfMyFavoriteThings

My favorite place to sleep is: In the middle of the bed, right between Mom and Dad. I try to keep them

from getting up in the morning for as long as possible. (I achieve this by laying on them.) I love to sleep in.

Puppy Picture from  7/29/13 to 8/9/2013

Puppy Picture from 7/29/13 to 8/9/2013

My favorite holiday is: so far, CHRISTMAS!!!!! I got lots of new toys and yummy treats! (and I got to

shred the paper all by myself too!) I went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the day. It was a blast! I

really like my Grandpa. Mom and Dad laughed about that saying that Roxi adored Grandpa too.

Laci with Santa at Narnia

Laci with Santa at Narnia

My favorite treat: Spiced Apple Cookies my mom and dad make!!! I really like all of them, but go

especially crazy for these! (Okay, okay, between you and me, if it’s food, I’m going to do whatever I can

to get it! I’ll even listen!)

Baby Laci 7.29.2013

Baby Laci 7.29.2013

My favorite toy: I like to snuggle with my stuffed Garfield that I brought with me when I came home for

the first time. I love to play with my new crinkley loofa dog that Santa brought! (Dad says it has a bottle

in it that makes all the noise. I don’t know what that means but it sure does make lots of noise when I

pounce on it!)

Laci and Lexi Christmas

Laci and Lexi Christmas

My favorite television show is: Bears football games! Mom cheers and yells a lot. She gets super

worked up. It’s really fun!

My favorite season of the year is: I really liked chasing and barking at all the falling leaves in the

Autumn, but this white stuff is pretty fun too! Lexi sure seems to like it. She calls it “snow”. It’s a little

cold on my paws and belly, but Mom and Dad don’t let me play outside for too long. Snow is really

yummy.

Two Weeks Old

Two Weeks Old

My favorite trip was when we went to: I haven’t been on many trips yet, but so far going to Narnia to

see Santa was pretty awesome! Mom even made me my very own tuggie-toy! Dad kept telling me what

a good girl I was. Going to Grandma and Grandpa’s for Christmas was a great time! I got lots of love and

yummy treats.

Car Ride Home

Car Ride Home

My favorite playtime activity: Chewing on elk antlers, then pushing them under the chair and couch so

Mom has to get them out. What a fun game!

My nickname is: Punkys or Thud-Thud (My parents call me that when I’m running through the house)

Finally Home

Finally Home

I look really cute when I: –the real question here is when do I NOT look really cute?? Dad and Mom tell

me all the time how cute I am! Mom is always taking pictures of me.

Laci playing in the yard Sept. 3, 2013

Laci playing in the yard Sept. 3, 2013

The biggest mess I ever made was: Shredding my crate pad. I was only trying to redecorate my room.

Boy, were Mom and Dad mad!!!

Laci 10.5.13

Laci 10.5.13

The first thing I ate that I wasn’t supposed to: the TV remote. (Dad caught me before I could finish it

off.)

Laci Crate Shred

Laci Crate Shred

The one time I was a hero was: when I got these neat cold things from the refrigerator door for Lexi and

me! I played with them for a while but they disappeared.

Puppy Picture from  7/29/13 to 8/9/2013

Puppy Picture from 7/29/13 to 8/9/2013

The reason I love coming to Narnia for classes is: TREATS!—Er, I mean, learning. I love coming to Narnia

to further my education! Not the treats. Just forget about that part.

Laci's Graduation at Narnia

Laci’s Graduation at Narnia

I am really good at: Waiting for my kibble. Dad says I have a great “sit and stay”.

I am sometimes afraid of: Loud noises.

I think my sibling (canine- Lexi) is: a lot of fun but she can be pretty grumpy sometimes. Dad says I need

to be nice to her because she’s an old lady.

Christmas Morning 2013

Christmas Morning 2013

My toughest challenge so far has been: Settle. I’m only 5 months old! It’s way too hard to settle when

there’s so much to do!

Two Weeks Old

Two Weeks Old

we are familyfamilybw1800x1200

Baby Laci

Baby Laci

Please share something that you learned from your dog and what they have meant to your family.

How/Why the dog’s name was chosen: After seeing pics of Laci when she was two weeks old, we put

together a list of about 10 names we liked. Once we got the pics of her after her eyes opened, none

of the 10 fit. Laci popped into our heads and it stuck. Her middle name, Roxanna, is in memory of our

awesome Boxer girl.

What is the most important point you learned about your relationship with your dog did you learn from

your class time at Narnia?

That she will do just about anything for a treat. J We’ve learned to be more

patient with Laci and try to look at things from her perspective.

What is it about their particular breed that you are fond of? Laci is our first Great Dane. We were

drawn to the breed because of their goofy nature, their tendencies to be cuddle bugs and their energy

levels seemed to match our lifestyle. We do a lot of outdoor activities in the summer and wanted a

dog we can bring with us. (Lexi, our husky, doesn’t exactly like to be out of the air conditioning in the

summer.) We were initially hesitant based upon their rather short life-expectancy and revealed this

to a Dane owner. She changed our minds with one comment: “Even if they lived to be 30, it would not

be long enough. Enjoy them while you have them.” She was right. Her insight along with her beautiful

Dylan, a mantled Merle Dane girl, erased our last hesitations. We couldn’t be happier.

Homecoming

Homecoming: a girl and her dad

Puppy Picture from  7/29/13 to 8/9/2013

Puppy Picture from 7/29/13 to 8/9/2013

Thank you to Michelle and Jeff Larsen along with Laci and Lexi for participating in this weeks interview.  Best of luck to you Laci in all your endeavors in the years to come.

Laci and Lexi would like to remind everyone that the shelters will be overflowing this time of year, please open your hearts to helping by fostering, volunteering, donating and adopting.

Pet of The Week: Wolfie Hunsaker (August 24, 2013)

...but the toys are better out.

…but the toys are better out.

~~~Wolfie Hunsaker~~~

Dog Name: Wolfie

Guardian’s Name:  Brian and Katt Hunsaker

Dog Age: 8 months

Dog Breed:  Crazy mix of Akita, Siberian Husky, Miniature Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier

Siblings:  3 cats, 2 chinchillas, 5 dart frogs and a geriatric mouse

Classes attended/attending:   Beginning Obedience

Sports I participate in:   Mom and Dad are teaching me to kayak, swimming, fetch, chase the kitty

Sporting/Show Titles I have earned:  Neighborhood Butterfly Control Officer

Rescue or Shelter Name My Guardians found me at:   Orphans of the Storm, Deerfield

Me and Dad on Adoption Day

Me and Dad on Adoption Day

How I picked my family:    I’d already been turned down once that day because a lady said I wasn’t going to be big enough.  Can you believe it ME not big enough!  I’ve been growing this ego since birth.

Well, I saw these two really gullible people walk into the shelter, and I said, “self, I’m going home today, so we are gonna be calm and loving, and even though I don’t really know sit, I’m gonna sit for that man over and over because it makes him pet me more”. They bought it, hook line and sinker, especially the guy,  It was all part of my master plan.

When I grow up I want to be :   A hiker, a camper, a kayaker, a caver, a pawn and a king.

Wolfie

My shelter smile for Mom….”take me home”

If you asked my family they would say I am: Totally Awesome

My nickname is: Mom calls me Wolfman because I’m he superhero, and dad likes Wolferdoodle because I’m his little…(I don’t really like Wolferdoodle too much)

Wolfie

Fear the Dragon!

I look really cute when I: Get stuck trying to go through the cat door

Wolfie

I can’t find the kitty

The biggest mess I ever made was: Goustav the Fat (Kitty) and I played keep away with a roll of toilet paper.  That was fun, I want to do that again but daddy always shuts the door now.

The first thing I ate that I wasn’t supposed to:   Cat poop. I couldn’t help it I thought it was a snack bar.

The one time I was a hero was: My dad and I were walking and we found a baby kitty in a tree.  I stood lookout while daddy climbed the tree and got me my little brother Moto.  That was also the day I learned that baby’s come from Crab-apple trees.

The reason I love coming to Narnia for classes is: MORE TREATS!

Wolfie

Don’t mess with my wooba

I am really good at: Barking

I am sometimes afraid of: I’m not afraid of nothing!

The one thing I can’t resist is: Goose poop! Oh, those treats in the kitty snack bar (litter box)

Wolfie Hunsaker

My Dog Shaming

I think my siblings (canine/human) are:   Delicious (they are cats remember)

My toughest challenge so far has been:   Catching the neighbors on their bicycles, they look so tasty!

Wolfie

TREAT BAG!

Favorite Things

 My favorite place to sleep is: I’d like to say on the bed but for now my dad says the remnants of what was a Martha Stewart dog bed

My favorite holiday is: WOLFIE DAY!  And they are all Wolfie days!

Wolfie

Mom, did you want this?

My best friend is: A 15 week old kitten named Morimoto

My favorite treat:   Anything the girls from Narnia have, it just tastes better when they have it.

My favorite toy: Squeeky pig, but it makes me do bad things.

My favorite television show is:   Wolford, that dog is a genius!

Wolfie

Deciding if I want to go for a walk in the rain.

My favorite season of the year is: Well, I only know two, so I guess I have to say summer because that’s when I found my family.

My favorite trip was when we went to:  Jericho Park, my mom let me sit on her kayak while we went around the lake, and I met a nice lab that taught me how to swim for dragonflies.  What a great day, I even got to get the inside of my dad’s new car wet!

My favorite quote is: Momma, the pig made me do bad things.

Wolfie

Sneaky Kitty.

My favorite playtime activity: Chase the kitty

My favorite canine movie is: It’s a toss-up between Summer School and Down and Out in Beverly Hills.

Wolfie

Me and Goustav

Questions for the Family:

Please share something that you learned from your dog and what they have meant to your family.

Wolfie is teaching us so much patience. Having  a dog that learned to be a dog in a dog world first (he was a stray by himself until he was 6 months old) they don’t automatically understand that they aren’t pack leader.  We had to earn his trust for him to be able to relinquish control to us.  His instinct even now if he is threatened or afraid to be the tough guy and we have to respect that and show him daily that we are there to protect him and not the other way around.  When we have a triumph it is such a huge thing for us and Wolfie.

How/Why the dog’s name was chosen: When we found him at the shelter they had given him the name Chopin because he was caged with an older Maltese named Mozart.  They told us he was part Wolfhound and thought that we might call him Wolfgang.  Then we saw his scruffy little face and knew he was a Wolfie, after the nickname that Constanze gave her husband Mozart.

What is the most important point you learned about your relationship with your dog did you learn from your class time at Narnia?  The ladies at Narnia taught us a ton of new ways to keep Wolfie excited and focused on my husband and I.  They always remind us that it’s the smart dogs that can be the most resistant ones.

What is it about their particular breed that you are fond of? HAHA! Which one?  Wolfie is such a huge mixed bag of super alpha dogs.  But he has so many pieces of so many personalities come out, he is all terrier when the cabbage butterflies are out, all working dog when he is herding our cats, all guard dog when there is a bump in the night, and bird dog that likes to sit by the pond and just watch the ducks as still as he can be.  Most of the time he is just pure bread Wolfie who is slowly revealing more of who he is each day.

A huge thank you to Wolfie and his family, Brian and Katt Hunsaker for participating in this weeks Pet of the Week.  Wolfie asked that it be changed to the Wolfie Hunsaker Pet of the Week interview, regrettably I must tell you Wolfie, Mrs. Sara Swan said, “NO, NO WAY, NOT IN THIS LIFETIME OR THE NEXT”.  Nice try anyway little dude.  🙂

Pet of the Week: Penny Wilkison (May 4, 2013)

This weeks Pet of the Week is Penny, Penny, Penny Wilkison, okay truth be told she’s Penny Wilkison, a 10 month old Australian Cattle dog, her guardian is Megan Wilkison; as far as I know Dr. Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory) is NOT her apartment complex neighbor.

Her trainer Bev Oliver at Narnia noted how Megan and Penny returned to Beginner’s Obedience class each week with homework in hand, check marked and notations made.  Megan showed a serious and efficient means to undertaking the training the sessions to benefit Penny to the highest degree.  Her efforts paid off as Penny made strides in her training and the Narnia staff took notice choosing her as the Pet of the Week.

Lion: This is baby lion, Penny’s beloved toy.  I took this picture late at night when she was in my bed and she was not thrilled to have me taking pictures of her.

Lion: This is baby lion, Penny’s beloved toy. I took this picture late at night when she was in my bed and she was not thrilled to have me taking pictures of her.

♥15 Questions with the Pet of the Week, Penny Wilkinson♥

1.    How I picked my family:  I was at the West Suburban Humane Society for a couple months and when my future mom came to visit, she gave me lots of treats and played fetch with me.  As soon as she threw the ball and chased me around the yard, I knew she was the one!

Hiding: For some reason, Penny loves to crawl under pillows.  I was attempting to make my bed and had thrown my pillows in the middle of my bed and when I turned around, Penny had already crawled underneath them.

Hiding: For some reason, Penny loves to crawl under pillows. I was attempting to make my bed and had thrown my pillows in the middle of my bed and when I turned around, Penny had already crawled underneath them.

2.   When I grow up I want to: I would love to compete in Frisbee or diving.  Frisbee is my favorite game in the whole world.  If I am not able to travel the world competing in sports, I will settle for competitive eating contests- preferably Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, but I would settle for pretty much any type of food.

First Day: This is the very first picture I took of Penny on the day that we picked her up the hospital following her surgery.  She was such a trooper on the ride home and quickly bonded with everyone in the family that night.

First Day: This is the very first picture I took of Penny on the day that we picked her up at the hospital following her surgery. She was such a trooper on the ride home and quickly bonded with everyone in the family that night.

3.    If you asked my family they would say I am: full of energy.  I am always running around the house or doing laps in the backyard.

4.    My nickname is: Pen, PenPen, Goob, Goober, Penny Boo Boo

5.    I look really cute when I: am begging for a treat.  I will pull out all of my tricks to do whatever I can to get a snack.

Sleeping: This is rare photo of Penny sleeping

Sleeping: This is rare photo of Penny sleeping

6.   The biggest mess I ever made was: My grandma was cleaning up and gave me some cardboard boxes to play with.  It only took me seconds to rip them all to shreds!

Or, There was a big rainstorm that left lots of puddles in the backyard and I was quite amused to jump in them and make some big splashes.  But I did not enjoy the paw soaking to clean my feet afterwards.  Getting clean is no fun!

7.   The first thing I ate that I wasn’t supposed to: my first toy that I got from my mom on the way home from the hospital, Dino the Dinosaur….my mom wasn’t too happy about that (good thing she bought me another one!)

Dino: This is when Penny was discovered after she destroyed her very first toy and love, Dino the Dinosaur.  We would leave it in her cage with her at nights, but after this incident, only non-edible bones are allowed in her cage.

Dino: This is when Penny was discovered after she destroyed her very first toy and love, Dino the Dinosaur. We would leave it in her cage with her at nights, but after this incident, only non-edible bones are allowed in her cage.

8.    The one time I was a hero was:  when I chase the birds out of the yard.  Those birds take over the yard when I am inside, but as soon as I get out; I make sure to chase them away.

9.     The reason I love coming to Narnia for classes is: All of the yummy food I get!  I have fooled my teachers- I found that if I lie down quietly and wag my tail, they will come up to me and give me a treat!

People watching: Since we have brought her home, Penny enjoys sitting on the front stoop and watch the neighborhood.

People watching: Since we have brought her home, Penny enjoys sitting on the front stoop to watch the neighborhood.

10.   I am really good at: running away from my mom when it is nap time, talking (or as my mom says ‘barking’), eating, find the squeakers in toys, spying on people through the front window, jumping, the ability to destroy new toys within minutes (my record is 11 seconds, thank you very much), cuddling (but only when I am tired, otherwise- don’t touch me!), digging holes in the backyard, pulling branches off of the bushes, helping feed lettuce to my cousin OX, and melting people’s hearts with my cuteness

11.    I am sometimes afraid of: the vacuum cleaner.  I haven’t decided how I feel about it.  The noise doesn’t bother me, but I don’t understand why they move it around the floor.  Sometimes I bark and chase it, other times I might cower.

12.   The one thing I can’t resist is:  all of the fun things that are in my back yard like rocks, sticks, grass, bugs and chasing birds.

Frisbee: This is how Penny will drop the frisbee for you to throw.  We painstakingly taught her to drop the frisbee so we were able get it away from her mouth (or I like to say her ‘jaws of life’, because she does not like to give up her toys!)

Frisbee: This is how Penny will drop the Frisbee for you to throw. We painstakingly taught her to drop the Frisbee so we were able get it away from her mouth (or I like to say her ‘jaws of life’, because she does not like to give up her toys!)

13.   My toughest challenge so far has been: trying to control myself when I get tired.  I don’t want to admit defeat and take a nap!

Feeding Ox: Penny loves to help Grandma feed her cousin, OX (who is a bearded dragon).  She will look on as Grandma gives OX his daily lettuce.

Feeding Ox: Penny loves to help Grandma feed her cousin, OX (who is a bearded dragon). She will look on as Grandma gives OX his daily lettuce.

14.   If I spoke my voice would sound like an Aussie and the first thing I would say is: I’m hungry, can I eat now?

15.   Sports I participate in:    Loves to play Frisbee (if Penny could, she would spend her entire day outside playing Frisbee), enjoys playing football in the house on rainy days, leaves a tennis ball in multiple rooms around the house so there is always a reason to play tennis, enjoys going on walks and is trying to learn how to run with her mom.

15.   Classes attended/attending:    Beginning Obedience

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My favorite place to sleep is: NO SLEEP! I love to be awake all day every day! NO NAPS PLEASE!  If I get really tired at night or on the weekend, my mommy will let me snuggle with her on her bed.

My favorite holiday is: Groundhog Day.  I love to see and play with other animals, so I love any holiday that celebrates animals.  I also hope that he would see his shadow so I can enjoy more snow!  I also enjoy Christmas.  Mom let me open all of my presents and I enjoyed the wrapping paper more than the presents themselves!

My best friend is:  my Uncle Jonathan.  I don’t get see him as often as I would like, but when he comes to visit, it is non-stop playtime!  And he is much better at throwing the Frisbee than my mom is…

On the run: Penny and her amazing skills during our endless rounds of frisbee.

On the run: Penny and her amazing skills during our endless rounds of frisbee.

My favorite treat: is anything that I can get my paws on!  I love my bacon training treats and yummy, yummy hot dogs (Mom says I can only have them when we are training).  I also enjoy a good stick once in a while

My favorite toy: that’s a tough question.  It really depends on my mood, but my go to toy is my baby lion, which my mom calls my binky, because it is always in my mouth.  When my baby lion has to go to the hospital for stitches (thanks mom!), I am also fond of my football or bones.

My favorite television show is:  My grandma and I love watching Duck Dynasty on Wednesday nights.  On Saturday mornings, my mom and I enjoy waking up to Dogs 101.

My favorite season of the year is: I’ve only been with my mom for 1 season thus far, but I enjoy all types of weather.  I loved playing in, rolling around, and eating all the snow.  I also enjoy a good rainstorm and getting all muddy.

Snow: Once I showed Penny that she could eat the snow, she literally would walk with her mouth open on the ground to gobble up as much snow as she could.

Snow: Once I showed Penny that she could eat the snow, she literally would walk with her mouth open on the ground to gobble up as much snow as she could.

My favorite trip was when we went to:  I like taking trips to the toy store.  Mom lets me look at the birds and then pick out my own toys.  There are so many good smells and I seem to run into my best friends around every corner (Mom’s edit: Penny thinks every stranger was put on Earth to see her, so when she meets a new person she acts like it is her long lost best friend).

My favorite quote is: ‘That’ll do pig.  That’ll do.’ -Babe

My favorite playtime activity: Fetch.  No matter the toy of my choosing, I love to run up and down the hallway.  If Mom can tolerate the weather, we will go outside and play my favorite game of Frisbee.

My favorite canine book is: ‘The Puppy Who Lost His Way’ by Chrissy Taylor

My favorite canine movie is: Babe.  Since I am a herding dog, I love to watch Babe and get some good pointers from that cute pig!

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Please share something that you learned from your dog and what they have meant to your family.

Patience.  Lots and lots of Patience.  I thought I had a decent amount of patience before, but it has been a long slow process of trying to control Penny’s puppy behavior.  She is doing so much better by attending beginning obedience.  It is a lot of hard work for the both of us, but at the end of the day, I love nothing more than cuddling up with her.  This is the first dog that I have had of my own and it has brought so much joy not only to me but my other family members.

If the dog is a rescue/shelter dog, please share any of his/her past story.

We don’t know much about Penny’s history.  We know that she was sent to West Suburban Humane Society with her brother, when she was only about 6 weeks old from animal control.  She then spent the next couple of months at the WSHS until we adopted her in November 2012.

Why the dog’s name was chosen:

I initially wanted a name that ended in ‘y’ and then when I found out that she was an Australian Cattle Dog, I began looking up Australian names.  Penny happens to be a popular Australian name and ends in ‘y’.  It just seemed like the perfect fit and stuck since day 1.

What is the most important point you learned about your relationship with your dog did you learn from your class time at Narnia?

When I got Penny, she was 5 months old and was a lot more work than I anticipated.  I thought she would be a hopeless case with the biting, jumping, and the general urge to ignore anything that I said to her.  I was shocked when she quickly excelled at Narnia.  After just the first class, Penny responded amazing to the training and eagerness to learn.  I am excited to see how she grows into an adult and what the future holds for us.

Thank you to Megan and Penny Wilkison for participating in this weeks interview.  

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help-endpetcancer-1         May 1- May 31- 2013 is PET CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

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Watch. Share. Save Lives.

Millions of pets will develop cancer during their lifetimes. An estimated 50 percent of pets will die of this disease, and often the causes are unknown. Morris Animal Foundation and Blue Buffalo have partnered to end this disease and give hope to animals and those who love them.

In honor of Pet Cancer Awareness Month in May, Blue Buffalo will donate $1 to Morris Animal Foundation for every person who pledges and watches our video —up to $25,000.

That’s right, 1 “PLEDGE” = $1, so make it viral.

Morris Animal Foundation will use this generous donation to help fund critical research into preventing, treating and curing cancer and other diseases in pets and wildlife. Over our history, we’ve already invested nearly $14 million in cancer research for animals. Those studies have led to better diagnostics and treatments, but we can’t stop funding cancer research until cancer stops taking the lives of the pets we all love.

Please join us and take the pledge to watch the video and then share it with others who love animals. Together, we can #endpetcancer and create a brighter, cancer-free future for animals.

Click on the link below to be directed to the CAUSES page to log your view to help raise funds for cancer research through the Morris Foundation.

http://www.causes.com/EndPetCancer

Pet of the Week: Blossom Hill’s Northern White Cedar (Cedar) (April 13, 2013)

This is Cedar at Turkey Run on a long hike! He loved this day, hiking through the forest and climbing up the paths through the hills.

This is Cedar at Turkey Run on a long hike! He loved this day, hiking through the forest and climbing up the paths through the hills.

This weeks Pet of the Week is  Blossom Hill’s Northern White Cedar  or Cedar for short.   The above photo is Cedar posing with his mom, Elizabeth Seward, who together enthusiastically share their story.  

I think we should start off with how my mom came about preparing for my joining her as part of the clan.  It wasn’t until recently that I learned not all of my canine friends have the same start to life as I did, in fact some of them had a really rough go of it.  I’ll let mom take it from here.

“The first thing we did was research the breed, and I mean research. We read up on the history, what they were originally bred for, their temperaments, etc. That process took us several months because we wanted to be sure that we wanted a Swissy. Most of our resources told us all of the difficult things about having them, which was helpful in our decision making. For example, it is not uncommon for a six month old Swissy to not be reliable in the house – they take a very long time to potty train. Cedar was no exception and we were really glad that we were prepared for this. 
 
Next and through our research we came across the breed’s national club. Luckily, they had a list of questions on their website to ask prospective breeders and tips for finding a good one. We went through all of the questions, which were extensive. They covered common medical problems in the breed and how to tell if the breeder’s line has those associated with it, and other important questions to ask. We wrote them all down and asked them during our interview process. 
 
The most helpful thing though, was once we had spoken with a breeder (but before we had signed any paperwork or even verbally agreed to purchase a puppy), she recommended that we go spend some time with our local breed club (going to weight pulls, shows, pack hikes, etc) to get to know the dogs. We hung out with our local breed club, minus a dog for almost a year while we waited for Cedar to be conceived. During that time we got to meet the stud dog (sweet as pie) that Cedar was to be bred from, and several of his full brothers and sisters from a previous breeding. We got to meet puppies, several of his mother’s sisters, and learn what it is really like to be around these giant dogs. That time spent with the club was irreplaceable because now that our little puppy is heavier that I am, we feel prepared for how to deal with him and help him succeed. We thought about him getting big and didn’t just see these cute little puppies and forget about what they grow into.   
 
Best of all, we got to talk to the Swissys’ guardians, all of who spoke incredibly highly about the breeder we chose. They sang her praises, and now we do too. One of the things that really sealed the deal was that we were interviewed very carefully. We had to fill out several pages of paperwork and answer lots of questions about where we would train, who our vet would be, what we would do with Cedar when we weren’t home, etc. We knew that she cared a lot about her dogs and who they were going to. Another thing that really stood out to us, was that it is in our contract that if we ever do not want Cedar anymore, she takes him back no questions asked. When he was born we went down to her home and spent the night playing with the puppies. We saw where they lived and how they were raised. She said that the puppies were getting a lot of visitors, which helped us feel that they would be well socialized to dogs, humans, household noises, etc when he came home. She told us she would always be available to answer questions (which has been true) no matter how silly they might seem.” ~Elizabeth Seward
My mom’s a pretty smart lady, her and dad,  David Duke and my other guardian, Karen Brown, understood the dangers of backyard breeders and commercial puppy mills and wanted to steer clear of them.  They did their homework and my canine mom’s breeder did hers, together they ensured I was born into a safe, healthy environment and will live my life with guardian to provide a forever home.
Dog Age: 1 year 3 months Dog Breed: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Dog Age: 1 year 3 months
Dog Breed: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

15 Questions with a Dog You Should Know and Are Going to LOVE…Cedar Seward

If I spoke my voice would sound like a gangly teenage boy and the first thing I would say is: “Why’m I so big?”

Cedar hanging out in the rose garden

Cedar hanging out in the rose garden

1.  How I picked my family:

Betsy and Dave came to see me and my four sisters when I was 5 weeks old. They seemed really excited to see me and they both promised to love me for forever. My mommy told me that they waited almost a full year for me to come into the world, so I know they thought long and hard about me before I was even born!  Mommy says they looked for the perfect breeder who would raise us right and make sure that we were healthy and friendly!

Cedar trying out weight pulling on an empty cart. His first time in a harness!

Cedar trying out weight pulling on an empty cart. His first time in a harness!

2.  When I grow up I want to:

Go to work with Betsy and Dave to help people feel better and learn about all the hope and joy life has to offer! I have an endless amount of bounding joy so I think I can really help people learn to see things through my eyes.

Cedar out for a boat ride on Big Glen!

Cedar out for a boat ride on Big Glen!

3.  My best friend is: My Swissters!

My three sister Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs who I get to stay with sometimes – they’re the best and I love them so much! But I also love to run around with Twinkle and stare at her because she’s so pretty! One time she was over at my house and all I could do was pant at her and stare because she was just soooo pretty….

Cedar at four weeks licking milk off his sister

Cedar at four weeks licking milk off his sister

4.  If you asked my family they would say I am: A teenage boy who loooooves the lady dogs and thinks people are the greatest buddies in the entire universe. If you’re a person, Cedar is your best friend. No exceptions!

Cedar at 9 weeks, about to go home with us!

Cedar at 9 weeks, about to go home with us!

5.  My nickname is:

Cedar Pants, Bubba-Roo, Lil Bud

Cedar at Glen Lake settling in for a night of snuggles!

Cedar at Glen Lake settling in for a night of snuggles!

6.  I look really cute when I:

Rest my face on the bed in the morning for the A.M. snuggles and scratches.

Cedar snuggled in for the afternoon!

Cedar snuggled in for the afternoon!

7.  The biggest mess I ever made was:

I felt really really sick and had liquid diarrhea all the way from our bedroom to the back door. Whoops.  Mom and dad had to clean it up for about four hours. They weren’t mad at me, but I still felt awful.

Cedar running down the pier with his friend Wally!

Cedar running down the pier with his friend Wally!

8.  The first thing I ate that I wasn’t supposed to:

When I was four months old I went on my first Pack Hike with our dog club, and we were camping out, so I came over to the table where the people were and there were these big red strawberries. I snuck one and it was delicious! I was a little thing then (only about 60 pounds – about half the size I am now) so no one minded too much.

Cedar’s first fishing trip

Cedar’s first fishing trip

9.  The one time I was a hero was:

When mommy and daddy were playing out in the deep water on a boogie-board and daddy kept trying to tip it over so mommy would fall in. I heard her screaming, and even though I thought they were playing, I started barking and swimming out to them to save her.

Cedar at his first swimming lesson

Cedar at his first swimming lesson

10.  The reason I love coming to Narnia for classes is: I get to see other dogs and I get lots of love and attention from everyone there! I love all the teachers, they always have yummy treats for me! In puppy kindergarten I remember when we got puppy play time I just wanted to snuggle the kids and other people there!

Cedar Tidbits: Classes attended/attending: Puppy Kindergarten, Manners and Self Control, CLASS BA, CLASS MA, CLASS PHD, and drop ins in Manners and Self Control

Cedar settling down in the snow after a long game of fetch!

Cedar settling down in the snow after a long game of fetch!

11.  I am really good at:

Snuggling and securing the perimeter! I always know where everyone is.

Cedar at SwissAthalon in Ohio after the confirmation class. What a great weekend!

Cedar at SwissAthalon in Ohio after the confirmation class. What a great weekend!

12.  I am sometimes afraid of:

Going into a really big group of dogs. When our club has parties, sometimes there are 20 dogs there and when I walk in, sometimes I put my tail between my legs until I sniff everyone. Then it’s time for super play!

Cedar on his first canoe trip down a river in Indiana!

Cedar on his first canoe trip down a river in Indiana!

13.  The one thing I can’t resist is:

Going outside! What do you mean I can’t go out every time you open the door????! 😦

Cedar after earning his CLASS PhD

Cedar after earning his CLASS PhD

Cedar TidBits: Titles I have earned: AKC STAR PUPPY, CGC, CLASS BA, MA, & PHD, Pet Partners Therapy Dog

14.  I think my siblings/parents (canine/human) are:

Mom is super strict and likes me to be very well-behaved, but she’s a good snuggler and always sits on the floor with me since I can’t sit on the couch. Dad is great to play with, he’s more fun then mom, and he lets me be a big ole silly dog more. My Swissters are the best! There are THREE of them, so I never run out of playmates!

Cedar cooling off after a long swim

Cedar cooling off after a long swim

15.  My toughest challenge so far has been:

Learning to ignore other dogs.

New Year’s hike on Alligator Hill

New Year’s hike on Alligator Hill

 Cedar Tidbits:  Cedar goes to confirmation shows every month or so, and loves to be admired for his handsomeness! He is preparing to participate in pack hikes, where he will carry 25% of his body weight in a pack and hike for ten miles in order to earn a pack hike title! He’ll also try his hand at weight pulling with the big dogs once he turns 18 months, and looks forward to learning agility and formal obedience in the next year! In a few weeks, we’re going to a herding clinic too! One day I hope I can compete in drafting, but first I have to get my obedience rock solid!

Cedar at his first show!

Cedar at his first show!

My favorite quote is: BA-ROOOO! I hear my brothers and sisters say it all the time!

My favorite playtime activity: Keep away! I love to grab a toy and make people or dogs chase me for it!

 My favorite canine book is: Unlikely Friendships, it’s a book about rare animal friendships, like a Cheetah and a cow! I think it would be nice to be friends with a cow. I’ve been to a barn a few times and those huge horses are pretty scary, so maybe cows would be better friends for me.

 My favorite canine movie is: Lady and the Tramp – Lady is so pretty and I lurve her!

 My favorite treat: Cheeze its! I love them so much and get super excited when mom or dad brings the box out to snack on them, because I know if I look up at them with my sweet Swissy eyes then they’ll give me one.

My favorite toy: I like to rip apart and destroy most toys, but I have let my one special stuffed pig live. He doesn’t have a tail anymore, but I still love him. He goes everywhere with me – mom and dad always bring him with when I go visit friends or when we go on vacation.

My favorite television show is: Anything with pretty girls on it! I love the girls. But when I first came home, my mom took puppy maternity leave and we sat and snuggled and watched The Office for my first few days home, so that show makes me feel warm and happy!

 My favorite season of the year is: Winter! I’m built for winter (my feet are actually webbed for snow!) and I love to run around in the deep snow and bury my face in it and eat it and chase snowballs, fall asleep in snow piles. Sometimes we go up to really remote regions of northern Michigan and in the winter there’s no one around so I can go off leash and hike through the woods with mom and dad.

 My favorite trip was when we went to: Glen Lake! I learned how to swim and got to spend almost all day lounging around with mom and dad and paw-paw and there were so many people around who liked to give me love and take me on long hikes in the woods! The more people the better! Mom and dad even took me out on boat rides and let me go on fishing trips with them!

My favorite place to sleep is: At the bottom of the stairs near the front door – so I know where everyone is and I can warn my family about anyone trying to come into the house!

My favorite holiday is: Christmas because everyone comes over to the house and I get to lick and snuggle all of them. I love people more than anything in the entire world!

Now let’s toss it back to my mom to finish up.  Remember if you plan on purchasing your canine companion from a breeder, do your research!  A true breeder will not have puppies in stock like stuffed toys at the toy store, they will have LOTS of questions for YOU, they will care more for the integrity and well-being of their mama dog, the breed itself then the almighty dollar.  We are not products, we don’t come with bar-codes.  Save. Love. Care. Be your dogs Guardian.  SCL.logo_.final_-300x187

 

Please share something that you learned from your dog and what they have meant to your family:

Cedar came into our lives at just the right time. He strengthened our bond with family, helped us enjoy the outdoors more than ever before, and reminds us daily about how simple and joyful life can be if we let it. Cedar taught me personal lessons about  letting go, being present, and believing that everything is an opportunity for growth and change. Cedar joining our family is one of the best things that has ever happened to our clan, and we couldn’t imagine a day without him. He’s truly changed our hearts and lives, and continues to impact our psychological, physical, social, and spiritual well-being each day. Thank you Cedar, you can’t imagine how much we love you and how much you’ve changed our lives. 

How/Why the dog’s name was chosen:

Cedar’s name was originally supposed to be Banjo – but when we went to go see him at 5 weeks, he was so serious we thought he deserved a less silly name. We picked Cedar because he was supposed to grow up big and strong and enjoy the north woods. Our breeder names all of her male dogs after trees, and all of her females after flowers. After some research, we thought Northern White Cedar would be a fitting name. As it turns out he’s plenty silly though!

What is the most important point you learned about your relationship with your dog from your class time at Narnia?

At Narnia we learned how to make training a fun bonding exercise for us and Cedar. We learned to make training as awesome as possible so that Cedar enjoys it and associates it with love and treat showers. We also learned how to help Cedar with his self-control, which has been very helpful! With the assistance of Narnia trainers, Cedar is now a Registered Therapy Animal! Thanks Narnia!

Thank you to Cedar and Elizabeth Seward for their participation in this weeks interview.  Best of luck to Cedar in all of his endeavors!  

On The Front Line: Spotlight on As Good As Gold Rescue

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Continuing with our series of spotlighting local rescues, this week the light shines on As Good As Gold, Golden Retriever Rescue of Northern Illinois.  Narnia’s Pet of the Week for January 20, 2013, Ellie is an alum of the rescue arriving from Puerto Rico and finding her home in Naperville, Illinois. Good As Gold was founded in May of 2003 the mission being two fold:

  • The rescue, care, and adoption of abandoned, mistreated and/or unwanted golden retrievers in the Northern Illinois area.
  • The education of golden retriever guardians and the general public about the importance of spaying/neutering, positive training methods, diet and exercise, appropriate medical treatment, and humane care.

Since it’s inception, the rescue has re-homed 1,560 golden retrievers, currently utilize 67 animal hospitals, 80 foster homes, and 800 volunteers/members. Executive Director, Robin Sweeney is a married mother of one, and guardian to 3 canines.  She currently resides in Wheaton, Illinois and has been working with canine rescue for 13 years in the capacities of Intake and Medical Coordinator, President and presently Executive Director.

Narnia: Where does your passion for advocating for canine’s, in this instance Golden Retriever’s stem from?  
I have always loved dogs, especially goldens. I am also a dog trainer and have always believed that we need to be the advocate for the rights of the dog.

Narnia: What factors played a role in you founding a rescue?
I had no idea what rescues were when I volunteered for another rescue in the past, I could not believe that golden’s would need a rescue.  My background in training and veterinary experience figured into my need to help the breed I loved.

Narnia: How do you deal with the fact that you can’t save them all?
I need to keep my focus on the dogs I can help.

Narnia: What are the top 3 poorest excuses you have heard for surrendering a dog? 

  • No time.
  • Sheds too much.
  • The dog is too needy.

Narnia: What is the thought process behind requiring training for the dogs following their placement in forever homes?
Greater odds that the dog will stay in their new home.

Narnia:  Many people don’t realize the effort put in to rescue each dog and then rehome them. Please break the process down into steps for the layperson.  
Every dog is assessed before coming into the program, full vetting, working with trainers or behaviorists on issues the dog may have.  Rehab for any dog needing surgery such as torn cruciate, hip problems.  Addressing all medical and behavior issues before the dog is cleared for adoption.

Narnia:  How does the rescue go about finding dogs?  Who makes the decision as to which dogs are rescued?
We get 60% of our dogs from individuals who hear about us from their vets or our website.  40% of our dogs come from shelters or humane societies.  We have worked very hard to develop relationships with our shelters.

Narnia: What are the deciding factors in accepting a dog into the rescue?  
Temperment.  We do not turn down dogs due to age or health.

Narnia:  Why rescue dogs from outside the state of Illinois where you operate?  I know you saved our Pet of the Week Ellie from Puerto Rico’s Save the Sato’s, which is a wonderful story.
We work with the other 100 Golden rescues across the country, some small and some large.  If a small group does not have room, we will offer to take the dog.

Narnia: I have read via online networking people complaining that rescues should just give the dogs away if they are so desperate to find them homes, why charge? 
First of all, people seem to value something more if there is a cost for it.  It also generates some income, but the fee never covers the actual cost we put into readying the the dog for adoption.

Narnia: When a home visit is conducted what factors are you reviewing?
That everyone in the home is on board with the adoption.
 Is the home and yard safe for a dog.  The capabilities of the family, are they novice or experienced dog owner.

Narnia: How are your foster families chosen? And what would you like to say to those who may be considering becoming a foster family?
They go through the same process as an adoptive family, they complete an application and we conduct and interview and home visit. The reward of helping a dog prepare for a loving home is one of the best feelings in the world.

Narnia:  Is there a rescue in your career that stands out in your mind as a reminder as to why it’s all worth it?
Our puppy mill mother rescues.

Narnia: Is there anything about As Good As Gold  that sets you apart from other Golden rescues?
We do not turn dogs down for age or medical conditions.  We are truly invested in making sure that the adopter finds the right companion for there lifestyle.

Narnia: What Are Your Current Adoption Fees? *information provided from AGAG site*

Special Needs Program
Dogs w/Special Needs
Standard Adoptions
Dogs 1-7 yrs old
Golden Years Program
Dogs 8+ yrs old
$150 $350 $150

What is the “Golden Years” Program?*
In light of November being Adopt a Senior Dog Month, As Good As Gold recently enacted our Golden Years Program. The program is simple – if you open your heart and home to adopt one of our senior goldens (age 8 or older), adoption fees will be waived for all subsequent adoptions of dogs 8 years old or over. We have also grandfathered in any adoptive family that has previously adopted a senior dog from us. We hope this program will encourage people to think about adopting a senior dog… many of us know how wonderful they can be! If you would just like to help us cover our senior goldens’ medical expenses, please consider a donation to Elsa’s Fund.

What are Special Needs Goldens?*
Quite often we take in goldens that may require a little something extra. This may mean medications, surgery, behavioral help, or in very special cases, a dog that will continue to need extra care for the rest of its life. Special needs dogs have discounted adoption fee of $150. We hope this program will make it easier for someone to open their hearts and provide forever home for a very special golden.

What if I Can’t Adopt?*
As always, donations are accepted for the care of all of the goldens we take in, but if you are touched by the story or needs of a particular golden on our site, and are unable to bring one of these great dogs into your home; please consider a donation to help cover the cost of their medical care. For more information on donations, please select “Donations” from the left menu of any page on our site.

Narnia:  What questions should a potential adopter ask themselves prior to filling out an application?
What are their expectations, what are the things that are absolutely important to them, look at their lifestyle, do they have the time for a young dog, or would an older settled dog fit their lifestyle better?

Narnia: What questions should a potential adopter ask the rescue prior to adopting?
Make sure they get a Disclosure Form- some rescues do not provide them.

Narnia: Over the years what is the biggest positive change you have seen in the animal welfare community?
People are starting to get more educated about where their dogs are coming from and making a decision to not buy at puppy stores or backyard breeders.

Narnia: If you could have the U.S. Congress pass one Bill regarding animal welfare, what would it be?  
Ban Puppy Mills!!!

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I would like to share with you a story from the rescues website.  I believe it illustrates everything that Robin speaks of in this interview and everything the rescue talks to in their polices and mission statement.  This is the story of a dog who suffered horrific abuse through neglect and through the dedication, commitment, faith, work and out and out love her foster Mom has given to set her on a path to a second chance at life.

When people complain why do rescue organizations ask so many questions on applications forms?  Why do they have to do home visits and have the whole family there? What gives them the right to ask what food, what vet, where I’ll take the dog training, where they’ll sleep, what collar I’ll use, ect, ect, blah, blah, blah.

This is why. Rescue volunteers all across this nation, this state, this city, have fought, cried, struggled, and worked themselves past the brink of exhaustion at times to give a dog a second chance at the good life.

If you want to take over as guardian, advocate, companion of that dog,  then you best be willing to take the time to fight, cry, struggle and work yourself past the brink of exhaustion to fill out an online application, sit through a home visit, be prepared to answer the questions regarding the care of living creature that will be dependent on you for it’s well being.

Don’t be one of those people who dumps a dog at the shelter because they have no time or the dog sheds too much or the dog is too needy, those are poor excuse’s for your inability to take responsibility and live up to the commitment you made to your dog.

Remember make smart choices when it comes to your canine companion and adopt don’t shop!

Golden Spotlight

 As Good As Gold Website


You know, the funniest, most extravagant thing has happened to me that I just have to tell you about!  First of all, I should tell you that my name is Misha, and I have suffered from skin problems most of my life.  It had reached a point where I had very little hair and my skin was raw and infected…and I SMELLED (really bad, no one wanted to be in the same room as me or touch me)….there didn’t seem to be a solution, but As Good As Gold agreed to take me in and see what could be done.  Well, here is the funny part:  it would seem that they sent me to some kind of SPA.   There have been twice weekly, luxurious, medicated baths in a steamy room, where every part of my body is attended to.  Every day that there isn’t a bath, there are soothing wipe downs. Every week, I get a manicure/pedicure and I get clean bedding every day along with a clean collar.  Every couple of days I get a massage.  Really, at first I had no clue what that was all about and I wasn’t sure what to do, but then Foster Mom started making these small circles on my neck, and suddenly I just had to give a big sigh and relax.  Since then I have seen everyone else here get massages and now I get it.  And psst, keep it under your hat, but I hear there is a masseuse coming to give us all a REAL massage and Foster Mom is hoping to learn more techniques.

Anyway, did I tell you about the gourmet menu here?  Oh, my goodness!  We eat like royalty!  And I am getting lots of supplements to help things along, too.  And here is the part that I just have to share:  I am turning into a great beauty.   Well, Foster Mom told me I was beautiful even on the first day, but now I have hair, HAIR!  Did I ever have hair like this??  YIPEE!  And it is getting thick.  And my skin is all healed.  And I feel GOOD now.  So good, that when Foster Mom dances, I just have to dance along with her.  Amazing.

Soon I am going to be ready for adoption, but first I have to have surgery on my knee that bothers me.  After the surgery, I’ll have some rehab to do, but Foster Mom tells me we’ll be doing most of that right here at the SPA.

And, the good news is all of Foster Mom’s work is already paying off.  I don’t have to have as many baths or wipe downs and I have finished a lot of my medicine that has helped me.  I am already getting better and easier to take care of.  Please check back, and I’ll fill you in on new developments.  But first, check out my pictures below.  you can see my transformation already in progress.  I tell you, I am going to be As Good as Gold’s Cinderella.

(click on photo to enlarge)

Misha-As Good As Gold

Misha-As Good As Gold

Thank you to Robin Sweeney Executive Director of As Good As Gold Golden Retriever Rescue of Northern Illinois for your participation in this weeks interview.  Thank you also to you and all your members for your dedication and hard work in the animal welfare community with the Golden Retriever breed.  Congratulations on your upcoming 10 year anniversary!

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