// Adding Google Analytics code

GSDWA Rescue

  1. Contact Information and Adoption Application Information
  2. Truth about Sighthound Puppies
  3. Reasons NOT to Adopt a Whippet
  4. Dog Buyer's Guide
  5. Common Mistakes
  6. Adult Whippets in Transition
  7. Seleting a Breed
  8. Puppies, Adolescents, & Adults
  9. Purebred vs Mixed Breed
  10. How to Tell if a Purebred is of Good Quality
  11. Where to Purchase a Puppy
  12. How to Identify a Legitimate Rescue
  13. Meaning of Rescue
  14. Items Commonly found in homes that are toxic to pets
  15. Myth of the Guilty Dog
  16. Pet Parenting Questionnaire

Contact Information and Adoption Application Information

GSDWA Rescue Coordinator

Adoption Application Information

For an application please go to the Whippet Rescue and Placement website (See Below) The completed applications will be sent to Whippet Rescue and Placement and kept on file. When a dog comes into rescue the applications will be evaluated to determine the most suitable home for that dog, a home visit will be made and the family interviewed prior to placement.

More Rescue Resources

Truth about Sighthound Puppies

By Sharyn Hutchens of Timbreblue Whippets

Someone asked about (the energy levels or activity levels of) sighthound puppies. They are bad. Many are very, very bad. Because they are so agile, they can get into things that other puppies don't even think about. At five weeks, our Whippet puppies are racing up and down the stairs. At six months they can leap onto your kitchen counters. At nine months they can leap from behind the sofa and land on the floor in front of it. They have energy to spare and if you don't get them proper exercise, you'll have a coiled spring in your house ready to BOING as soon as it gets a chance. They don't like being alone and will get in more trouble in five minutes than, say, a Collie puppy will get in all day. On the plus side, they are endlessly entertaining, very affectionate, and way more fun than any dog I've ever had.

We don't sell Whippet puppies to homes in which no one is home for most of the day. Leaving a Whippet pup alone for more than a couple of hours is a recipe for a problem dog. Some folks get away with it, but every Whippet with behavior problems we have ever taken into rescue came from a home where no one was there during the day. Around three years old, magic occurs and the Whippet turns into a perfect dog. Before then, you need to be ever-watchful, ever-patient, and ready to replace furniture when necessary.

We know of young Whippets who have:

  • leaped onto the counter and eaten the top out of an apple pie, then stuffed a dishcloth in it to "bury it";
  • stolen a bottle of liver-flavored antibiotics from the counter and eaten the entire contents (that was the day of the puke-a-thon... We didn't know who had gotten the bottle, so we had to induce vomiting in four dogs);
  • opened my computer cabinet and eaten the mouse (three times, until I realized I really had to lock the cabinet every time I left the room for even five minutes);
  • gotten on top of the refrigerator to get at food;
  • leaped out of a second story window;
  • run full speed into a tree and broken her neck (very tragic and does occasionally happen -- thank goodness never to any of ours).

Obviously we adore these dogs or we wouldn't have so many of them, and as I said, after three years old, they're pretty much perfect. But as puppies, they are demon spawn!

Aloofness is very unusual in the ones I've known. Ours all suffer from EGD (Excessive Greeting Disorder) and that applies to me, Walt, the mailman, the UPS guy, and I'm sure to burglars. They love *everybody.* We've had a few rescues through here who weren't accustomed to much affection from humans and so were less exuberant than our own, but after a few weeks or months living in a proper Whippet home, they always come out of their shells and learn to totally overwhelm anyone coming through the door. Let's put it this way. When people come over to meet the dogs or see puppies, we warn them to wear old clothes and be prepared for excessive greeting. After five minutes, the Whippets settle down and curl up in the stranger's lap, but that first five minutes is quite an experience for most people.

"What's the Truth About Sighthound Puppies?" Copyright © 2005 Sharyn Hutchens.

All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission.

Reasons NOT to Adopt a Whippet

If you want a dog to be an OUTDOOR ONLY DOG, don't get a whippet. Whippets have very little body fat and don't have an "all weather" coat. Even with adequate shelter, whippets do poorly in that type of environment. They are very attached to people and are miserable if they don't have a lot of quality time with their family!

If you want a dog to be a GUARD DOG, don't get a whippet. Whippets do not have the size or temperament to be a "guardian". Like most dogs they will probably alert you to the presence of strangers.

If you have visions of sitting in your easy chair with a dog quietly at your feet, think again! Most whippets are affectionate and enjoy close physical contact with their people. They are more likely to be in your lap than at your feet. Similarly, if the idea of a dog on the furniture gives you hives, you should probably look at another breed. While I'm sure a whippet could eventually be taught to stay off the furniture, they would be quite unhappy about it.

If you have cats (especially indoor/outdoor cats) and/or other small furry pets, you might want to reconsider whippets. Whippets generally have a lot of prey drive. Even dogs who are fine with the family cat indoors may view the same cat in a different light in the yard. Especially if the cat runs! If your neighbors have outdoor cats, how would they (and you) feel if your dog killed them? I do know people who have cats and whippets that peacefully coexist, and I also know people who had the combination end badly. This is an issue to consider carefully, and I would never leave the two loose, unattended.

If you are looking for a dog to accompany you off leash in various settings, I implore you to think carefully about getting a whippet or any sighthound. Sighthounds tend to have very high prey drive, and will take off after small furry creatures. During the chase they go "deaf" and won't even hear you calling them. Many whippets and other sighthounds have been hit by cars and lost because their owners trusted that they would not run off. The refrain is all too common, "But he was so attached to me I never thought he would leave my side..."; or "I had done it a million times and he never did anything like that before!" Some sighthound owners (myself included) successfully engage in off leash activities with their dogs, but only after intense recall training and in controlled areas.

As a companion to the above, if you are planning to use an invisible fence, please reconsider. Sighthounds are so fast, they can be through the containment system before they even realize they have been shocked. It just isn't enough of a deterrent in the face of great temptation (a squirrel, the neighbor's cat, etc.) Not to mention the fact that whippets are medium-sized dogs, and could be at the mercy of larger animals that wander into the yard. Even if the invisible fence keeps your whippet *in*, it doesn't keep the neighbor's 110 lb mutt *out*. I do know a few IG/whippet owners who successfully use invisible fences, but they are extremely dedicated owners and only use the system when they are outside WITH the dog.

***Contrary to what many of the breed selector websites say, whippets DO SHED!***

Some whippets have issues with moderate to severe carsickness. Many outgrow it by the time they are around a year old, but some don't.

Some whippets engage in copraphagia (eating feces) which is a complete gross out to some people. If you have a cat, you should make sure the dog doesn't have access to the box. There are products on the market designed to discourage a dog from eating dog feces, but they have limited success. The only foolproof method of dealing with the problem is picking up waste immediately.

Some whippets have issues with claustrophobia, severe crate anxiety and/or separation anxiety. Though I wouldn't call it "common", it does bear mentioning and can be very difficult to deal with.

Finally, if you expect perfect, automatic obedience, don't get a whippet! While whippets learn quickly with positive training methods and can be wonderfully well-behaved house dogs, they do not obey like a mindless automaton. People who want top obedience competitors choose breeds that don't mind lots of repetition and can be trained to a high level of precision. While a Golden Retriever might practice the same exercise 50 times in a single session, a whippet will do it twice and then look at you as if to say "Haven't you had your fun? Let's do something else already!"

If you have read all the way to this point, you may be wondering why anyone would want a whippet if all these things are true. Whippets are sweet and affectionate, as well as being beautiful and athletic. They have a dry mouth and require minimal grooming with little or no "doggy odor". They get along with most dogs and well-behaved children. They are generally clean and housetrain much more easily than their smaller brethren (IGs). They can be superb housedogs! It is also important to remember that all dogs are individuals, and you may find whippets that exhibit all (or none) of these traits.

Dog Buyer's Guide

Forrest Stewart at 12 Weeks
Forrest Stewart @ 12 weeks

A PUPPY IS A LIVING, THINKING, and FEELING CREATURE that needs to be loved and cared for. This does not mean a bowl of cheap kibble once a day and a cursory pat on the head. It means a well balanced diet of top quality food, vaccinations and regular veterinary care, brushing, toenail clipping, ear cleaning, adequate exercise, shelter from the elements, house training, socialization, obedience training, and, oh, yes -- lots and lots of patience and love; whether it turns out to be more than you hoped for in your wildest dreams or falls seriously short of even your minimum expectations.

A PUPPY IS A LIFETIME COMMITMENT -- for its entire lifetime.

Common Mistakes

A PUPPY IS NOT A TOY, to amuse your children for a few weeks until the novelty wears off. A puppy is a child itself that requires a great deal of attention and training to become a pleasant companion in future years. If your children are toddlers, they can inflict unintended tortures on a puppy that may permanently scar its personality and behavior.

A PUPPY IS NOT A TEACHING AID, guaranteed to instill a sense of responsibility in older children. It is unfair to your puppy to put its entire well being into a child's hands. The child-dog relationship's greatest value lies in the camaraderie and unconditional love that exists between them. You will end up doing the chores and the dog will be ignored and unhappy.

A PUPPY IS NOT A BURGLAR ALARM, to chain in your yard to bark at all hours of the day and night. It is not a crime deterrent; it is a public nuisance that will at least make you very unpopular with your neighbors and may result in costly fines and civil penalties. Even worse, a dog on a chain is at the mercy of teasing children and vicious strays. This can make your dog turn mean, and what happens when he breaks his chain can land you in court. Your puppy is entitled to an escape-proof yard or dog run for his safety and your peace of mind.

A PUPPY IS NOT A GIFT, unless the giver is very sure that a puppy is wanted and the recipient is able to care for it. This can still be a mistake if the giver chooses a puppy that is poorly suited to the recipient's personality or life-style. Most recipients appreciate the opportunity to personally select the companion they will be responsible for nurturing for the rest of its life.

PUPPY IS NOT A FAD like a pet rock or a lava lamp. It will still be there when the breed is no longer “en vogue” and it will still need to be fed, cared for and picked up after.

A PUPPY IS NOT UNBREAKABLE and any “repairs” will be costly. Puppyhood diseases such as Parvovirus require hospitalization and intensive care. Swallowed objects and broken bones can require major surgery. If you are going to balk at spending several hundred dollars in the event of an emergency don't get a puppy!

A PUPPY IS NOT AN INVESTMENT to breed to “pay you back”. Breeding a litter is a tremendous responsibility. Experienced breeders consider themselves lucky to “break even” on a litter. Chances are your amateur attempt will jeopardize your pocketbook and the life and health of your companion dog.

Adult Whippets in Transition

After much soul searching I decided to find a home for Tigger and dropped her off on Sunday. Unfortunately she didn't appreciate my thoughfulness of placing her in a home of whippet loving people, just her and a mother and child. At the first opportunity she escaped, now I'm feeling guilty of placing her. I thought she would appreciate being the only whippet in a loving household and not just in the kennels, with affection being shared among 6 whippets and a mini dach.

How wrong I was.

Dear Joan,

It's very sad to hear that Tigger escaped and I hope she is found soon. Please don't feel guilty about what happened, it's not your fault. You unselfishly placed her in a home where she could give and receive more love, and that is always a good thing. Given enough time, Tigger will appreciate her new situation.

I've heard many similar stories on these lists over time and it's made me think. I've had considerable experience over the years with placing adults, rescues, and older puppies. The reason why this scenario keeps repeating itself over and over is not because rehoming adult whippets is wrong, it's because people don't realize how at risk a whippet is during the transition to a new home.

It is normal canine behavior for dogs to bond strongly with their home, regardless of what kind of home that is. The people, dogs, routine, and environment they are used to represent security and safety to them. It’s normal for dogs to want to preserve a secure and "known" situation; for this species it’s an important survival technique. Even very well socialized dogs still have this instinct.

Given that all dogs have this strong instinct, we then make the mistake of thinking that they have human emotions, intelligence, and motives. We know that the new home is going to be better for them. We assume the dog knows this too. We assume they will appreciate this. Both these assumptions are erroneous because dogs do not have the reasoning ability to understand these things.

The dog may really like the new people, and enjoy their company, and perhaps even know them well enough to have bonded with them somewhat. But the dog still knows its old home, and will do everything it can to stay there. Dogs simply cannot fathom that a new situation could be better than the one they are familiar with. Dogs minds don’t work that way, it’s too complex a thought. One of a dogs’ greatest fears is to be separated from its pack and familiar environment - it will make them panic. This is normal canine behavior, and we should expect this behavior when separating them from their home.

Fortunately, canines as a species are infinitely adaptable. The attachment to a former home will give way to an attachment to the new home in time. Again, once a transition is complete, they are just as happy and secure in the new home as the old one. They never forget their former owners and will always be happy to see them, but they don't sit around all day and pine away for them for the rest of their lives. Dogs' minds don't work that way. They adapt.

I feel that newly placed dogs escape so often because people underestimate the dogs desire to preserve a known environment, and how high the "flight risk" is during the transition period.

It is the former owner's responsibility to know this (or rescue person, or breeder, etc.) and make sure the new owner understands this and knows what precautions to take. Every whippet takes a different amount of time to bond and adapt, anywhere from a few days to several weeks. In my experience it usually takes a week or so (that is, with a home where they get lots of attention and exercise, and not left alone too much). It is wise to continue taking extra precautions for as long as several months. Remember, the dog has no concept of geography. He may think that once he gets out of the yard, his old home will be right around the corner. New owners must be reassured that after the transition period, the whippet will be settled and happy and will act like a normal pet.

During the transition period, the whippet's personality and behavior may be unusual. Besides trying to get back home, it may display unusual traits. Reassure the new owner that this whippet will indeed be the same sweet whippet and to be patient and extra careful until he is settled in. It is important for the former owner to inform the new owner of the routine and environment the whippet is accustomed to. Discuss in detail the whippets feeding, schedule, sleeping arrangements, toys, etc. Initially, the new owner should try to keep things as familiar and comfortable as possible, and gradually work into their own routine. If possible it’s nice if the former owner can lend a crate and some bedding with a familiar scent.

Some recommendations for new owners of rehomed adult whippets:

  • Give extra attention, love and treats.
  • Establish a consistent routine.
  • Do not leave the whippet alone in the yard, even if you are home, at first. Even a whippet that has never dreamed of jumping a fence may panic and
    try this during the transition period.
  • Crate the dog if you are gone, even for a brief time. During the transition period, being alone can be very frightening.
    Stimulate his mind. Do some obedience and help establish yourself as alpha in a positive way. Be loving but firm and set clear boundaries. This builds confidence.
  • Take lots of long leash walks. Lots of play and exercise in your yard if possible.
  • Use a comfortable, sturdy martingale style leash or collar that he absolutely cannot slip out of! Especially at the airport!!! Keep the leash handle looped around your wrist, and grasp with your hand. Whippets can be surprisingly strong. No flexi-leads!
  • Keep the new dog on lead when outside the home, don't let them off lead even in a safe dog park until they are really bonded with you and have good recall.
  • Be absolutely paranoid about doors and gates, ESPECIALLY where children are involved. Be in control of your household situation.
  • Keep i.d. on your Whippet at all times. Contact the breeder immediately if he gets lost.

Kim Otero
Wheatland Whippets

Selecting a Breed

Now that you are sure you are ready for a puppy what breed should you select?   You may prefer the same breed your family had when you were a child; but, if your mom did all the grooming on your poodle, will you be willing to do it now, or will you pay a groomer to do it for you?

What if the children insist on the same kind of dog they see on a favorite TV show or movie? Public exposure like this has caused several breeds to become over-popular and exploited. Puppies are bred from poor quality parents and sell rapidly based on the appeal of a highly trained dog actor. The average Collie pup will never be like Lassie, especially not right away.

Remember, the dog you select will be a member of your family for ten or more years. Use your head and select one that will compliment your lifestyle, not be a daily irritant or a financial burden.

Puppies, Adolescents, & Adults

PUPPIES have an incredible amount of appeal. There is nothing like filling the family photo album with pictures of Bowsie as a pudgy, waddling pup. Puppies are so cute, so funny, and so little, how much trouble can one be?   You can be amazed. Whining, housebreaking, teething and shots; wormings, digging, chewing, and barking over and over and over until adulthood. Some puppy buyers are truly overwhelmed by normal puppy behavior. A big misconception is that the younger a puppy is, the better it will “bond” to the owners. Unfortunately, separating a puppy from its mom and littermates prior to seven to ten weeks of age can deprive a puppy of a critical period of emotional development and behavior problems may result.

ADOLESCENTS are much less attractive than puppies. They seem all legs and feet. Boy, can a coated breed look strange during the four to ten months old stage!  The benefits of buying an adolescent puppy include:  completed shots and wormings; a mental attitude mature enough to train with more lasting results; a personality more like it will be as an adult; and a better ability to inter-act with children. Drawbacks include: if bad habits have been allowed to develop, you will have to “untrain” them and you are getting the pup at its most boisterous stage. An Adolescent of most breeds, which has been raised in a good environment, will still bond well to your family and will spare you the trials and tribulations of puppy infancy.

ADULTS are a finished product. What you see is what you get!  No worry over how big or healthy it will be. Adult dogs usually bond well with new owners. A previously neglected dog may bond so tightly that he becomes your “shadow”. Do watch out for bad habits, try to obtain complete background and history on the dog. Breeders often have excellent quality adults that did not grow up to meet the exacting standards for competition or breeding. These are usually already well trained and socialized.

Purebred vs Mixed Breed

MIXED BREEDS are a combination of two or more recognized breeds of dogs. Sometimes you know what the parents were, sometimes not. Some people believe mixed breeds are smarter and healthier than purebreds because of their more widely mixed gene pool. Most mixed dogs are the product of human ignorance and irresponsibility. If the parent dogs had health problems or bad temperaments, those traits will usually be passed on to the puppies. The wide gene pool that supposedly makes them healthier also makes it difficult to predict their mature size, coat type and length and temperament. Mixed breeds can make wonderful pets, but are best acquired as adults, when size and temperament are established, or from private parties who have given them shots and good care and who have the parents available for you to verify health and temperament.

PUREBREDS are dogs whose ancestors for at least five generations are all of the same breed. They have been carefully developed over many generations to serve a specific purpose. They should conform to a standard size, coat, colors, and have certain temperament characteristic desirable for their breed. The best purebred dogs are REGISTERED with a well-known association such as the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club. There are other lesser-known registries which will register anyone's dog, purebred or not for a fee. And herein lies the biggest misconception people have about purebred dogs.

REGISTRATION IS NO GUARANTEE OF QUALITY. The American Kennel Club can no more guarantee the quality of a puppy registered with it than the Department of Motor Vehicles can guarantee the condition of your car. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY as the buyer to invest the time and effort into assuring a puppy is of good quality before you buy it. If you are not willing to invest the time and money required to acquire a good quality purebred, you may end up worse off than had you acquired a mix.

How to tell if a Purebred is of Good Quality

THE BREED STANDARD (available in the reference section of most libraries) gives a general description as well as serious faults and disqualifications. Read up on the breed you are interested in and know what it should look like. Visit a dog show and see the dogs in person so you will be able to recognize the correct general appearance. This is also a good place to look for responsible, reputable breeders.

“PAPERS”. Purebred dogs have registration certificates (or applications). These list the sire and dam (along with any titles they may have attained such as “CH” for “champion” in front of their names, birth date and breeders’ names. They also include health certification numbers for hips, elbow and thyroid (OFA) and eyes (CERF) on AKC papers, as well as DNA certification. These are a must for breeds commonly afflicted with hip or elbow dysplasia, hereditary low thyroid conditions or eye diseases. Reputable breeders also have pedigrees showing the lineage behind their puppies. If the parents are not champions, at least two of the grandparents should be (an exception would be field dogs which would have working titles listed after or before their names). Even though you may only be interested in a companion, quality ancestors are your best indicators that your dog will have the desired breed characteristics and good health to best fulfill that role.

Where to Purchase a Puppy

THE ANIMAL SHELTER. Dogs find their way into shelter in many ways. Some are turned in by owners who were unprepared for the responsibility of dog ownership. Some are confiscated because of neglect and/or abuse. The rest are picked up as strays. Some of them may be in poor health or have temperament problems. If you have young children be very careful. Ask the shelter workers for help in selecting a dog of the right age, size and temperament for your family. They have usually worked with the dogs enough to have an idea which ones have the best potential as pets. If possible, take the dog to a quiet area and spend some time getting a feel for its personality. Be prepared for the possibility that you may have to try several dogs over several months time before you find one that works out for your family. Also keep in mind that even though the initial cost of a shelter dog is low, it may be incubating expensive health problems such as Parvovirus or distemper.

BREED RESCUE. Many purebred dog fanciers organize themselves into groups that “rescue” their breed from shelters and inappropriate homes. They have already made sure the dog is in good health and had it spayed or neutered. They have determined what kind of personality the dog has and will offer advice and training suggestions to help the dog become a good member of your family. Expect to pay a reasonable adoption fee to help offset their expenses. Since they are dedicated to making sure the dog does not end up in a shelter again, your pre-adoption interview may seem more like an interrogation!  Most rescues have a policy requiring you to return the dog if you can't keep it. Beware of some unscrupulous individuals who pose as   rescues but are actually reselling dogs they acquired from “free” newspaper ads.

PET STORES used to be the public's favorite place to acquire purebred puppies. Unfortunately, this is where the puppy mill finds its outlet for thousands of poor quality puppies produced in concentration camp style kennels. Their dogs are bred with no consideration for health and temperament. Pet stores offer various guarantees and assurances in an effort to sell their puppies, most of which are backed up by replacing the puppy with one of equally poor quality and/or health. The fact is that responsible breeders who care about what happens to the puppies they breed do not sell to pet stores. The pet stores buy from brokers and mark the puppies up at least double what they paid for them. You will pay $500 and up for a puppy that the breeders originally sold for as little as $50!  You will always pay more than you would have paid for a top quality puppy bought from a reputable breeder. A few pet stores are owned by caring individuals who sell healthy mixed breeds reasonably or take purebreds on consignment and sell them with “limited registration” papers, thus indicating they are intended purely as companions and not show or breeding animals. A word to the wise, be very careful in purchasing a dog from a pet store.

BREEDERS. If you want the best possible purebred you can find, you need to find a RESPONSIBLE breeder. Not everyone who has a litter is doing so for the right reasons or is reputable. Some places you can look for REPUTABLE breeders are:

  • Ask your veterinarian for a referral
  • Call a local Kennel Club for a referral
  • Visit a dog show and purchase a catalog as well as talk to exhibitors of your chosen breed
  • Call 1-900-407-7877 for an AKC automated breed referral service


  • Belongs to at least one dog club
  • Is actively involved in training and/or showing their dogs
  • Encourages puppy buyers to keep in touch and is glad to offer advice on raising and training your pup
  • Questions you carefully about why you have chosen the breed and how you intend to care for the dog
  • Checks their dogs for hereditary defects and does not breed dogs with such disorders
  • Guarantees the health and soundness of their pups IN WRITING
  • Does not use hard-sell techniques
  • Does not “run down” other breeders or their dogs
  • Will take back a dog they have bred or help find it a new home if an owner can't keep it

Don't be surprised if you have to get on a “waiting list” or drive to a distant town for a top quality puppy. Consider is a worthwhile investment for the pleasure and companionship your puppy will provide over the years to come. Most responsible breeders sell their companion puppies on Limited Registration, which does not allow them to be used for breeding purposes. If breeding your dog is important to you, be prepared to spend the extra time and money to purchase a show quality dog that has the potential to contribute to the improvement of its breed with the next generation.

Above all, when you do get a dog, please be a RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNER. This includes training your dog to be a good canine citizen and being considerate of neighbors and others who come in contact with your dog. See that your dog has regular veterinary care and (unless your dog is show quality), spay or neuter it for its own safety as well as to avoid contributing to the unwanted pet problem

How to Identify a Legitimate Rescue

  1. A legitimate rescue will only adopt out dogs who have been spayed/neutered.
  2. A legitimate rescue evaluates a dog and will only place it into an appropriate home for that individual dog.
  3. A legitimate rescue discloses everything they know about the dog to the perspective new owner.
  4. A legitimate rescue takes the dog to the vet for a check-up and takes care of medical needs prior to placement.
  5. A legitimate rescue will readily supply you with the correct medical information and vet records for the dog.
  6. A legitimate rescue evaluates temperament of the dog and will never place a dog with a known record of aggressiveness or biting.
  7. A legitimate rescue does not operate on a "you've got $$, you've got a dog" basis.
  8. A legitimate rescue carefully evaluates each individual home, does home visits and fills out proper documentation prior to adoption.
  9. A legitimate rescue is not in the business of 'brokering' dogs for breeders.
  10. A legitimate rescue is ethical, humane and always makes the best interest of the dog of foremost importance at all times.

The Meaning of Rescue

Now that I'm home, bathed, settled and fed, all nicely tucked in my warm new bed, I'd like to open my baggage, lest I forget. There is so much to carry - So much to regret. Hmm...Yes there it is, right on the top, let's unpack Loneliness, Heartache and Loss.

And there by my bed hides Fear and Shame. As I look on these things I tried so hard to leave - I still have to unpack my baggage called Pain. I loved them, the others, the ones who left me, but I wasn't good enough - for they didn't want me.

Will you add to my baggage?

Will you help me unpack?

Or will you just look at my things - And take me right back?

Do you have the time to help me unpack?

To put away my baggage, to never repack?

I pray that you do - I'm so tired you see, but I do come with baggage - Will you still want me?

- Author Unknown

Items Commonly found in homes that are toxic to pets

You may not give some item in your home a second thought about the danger it presents to your pet but that item may very easily cause injury or death.

Some things are dangerous to any animal and others are only dangerous to a dog or cat. If your pet exhibits any of the following signs, you should bring them to your veterinarian immediately: vomiting, diarrhea, difficult breathing, abnormal urine, salivation, weakness, and any other abnormal condition. If you suspect your pet has ingested poison, try to bring the container or the poison with you to the veterinarian, this will help identify how to treat your pet faster. The lists presented below are not all inclusive, if you have questions about any particular item found in your home, please consult with your veterinarian.

Common plants that are toxic. Listed by common name with primary toxin in parenthesis.

  • Aconite (aconitine)
  • Autumn Crocus (colchicine)
  • Azalea (grayanotoxins and other resinoids)
  • Bleeding Heart (isoquinolone alkaloids)
  • Castor Bean (ricin)
  • Cyclamen (cyclamine)
  • Daffodil (galanthamine and lycorine)
  • Elephant Ear (oxalic acid)
  • Foxglove (cardiac and steroidal glycosides)
  • Hyacinth (alkaloid toxins)
  • Iris (cardiac glycosides, especially convallatoxin)
  • Jasmine (unknown)
  • Kalanchoe (bufadienolide cardiac glycosides)
  • Larkspur (delphinine)
  • Lilies-Renal failure in cats.
  • Laurels (cyanogenic glycosides)
  • Marijuana (tetrahydrocannabinol, glycosides and alkaloids)
  • Mistletoe (viscotoxin)
  • Monkshood (aconitine)
  • Mushrooms (amatoxins, phallotoxins, and virotoxins)
  • Oleander (oleandrin, neriine, and rosagenin)
  • Poinsettia (terpenoids)
  • Rhododendron (grayanotoxin)
  • Rhubarb (oxalic and nephrotoxic acid)
  • Rosary Pea (abrin-ricin)
  • Sago Palm (cycasin)
  • Star of Bethlehem (glycoside)
  • Tulips/Narcissus Bulbs
  • Wisteria (glycoside)
  • Wolfsbane (aconitine)
  • Yew (taxin)

Human foods and other items that are toxic or dangerous

  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Animal Fat (excess amounts)
  • Antifreeze
  • Apricots
  • Avocado
  • Batteries
  • Bleach
  • Chocolate
  • Cigarettes
  • Cleaning Solutions
  • Cocoa Mulch
    • dogs develop methylxanthine
      toxicosis when large quantities are consumed
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Dishwasher Solutions
  • Fabric Softener Sheets
  • Flea Products
    • use only for species that is labeled. Dog flea products can kill a cat.
  • Gasoline
  • Glow in the dark jewelry or sticks
  • Human Medications
    • never administer human medications to your pet without consulting your veterinarian.
  • Oil (motor vehicle)
  • Onions
  • Grapes-renal failure
  • Mothballs
  • Pennies
  • Pesticides, especially ant and roach bait
  • Play dough
  • Potpourri Oils and liquid air fresheners
  • Pork
  • Raisins
  • Rat Poison
  • Vitamin Supplements
  • Yard Chemicals and fertilizers

Submitted by Jo Rufing, Rescue Coordinator


by Susan Zyphur

Many a pet owner has come home to find that their beloved dog has spent his day breaking one of the cardinal house rules - he has soiled the rug, destroyed a couch pillow, or strewn trash all over the house. We look at the mess our best friend has made and then look at the culprit, often speaking to him in an angry voice, or possibly with intense disappointment. "Chester, how could you? You know better than to pee in the house! Bad Dog!" Most dogs respond by looking appropriately guilty and remorseful, and we are somewhat comforted by this. "He knows he did wrong," we think.

But, according to a new study, he doesn't.

Dr. Alexandra Horowitz of Barnard College in New York conducted an experiment to determine whether or not dogs give us that "guilty look" because they know they have disobeyed us. In her study, 14 dogs and their owners were tested in their own living rooms using a piece of food on the floor as bait. First, the owners instructed their dogs not to eat the food ("No!") then left the room. In half of the trials, the dogs were fed the treat by the experimenter, who remained with the dog; in the other half of the trials the treat was removed so the dog couldn't eat it. The real test occurred when the owners returned-whether the food had been eaten or not, the owners were told the dogs had either obeyed or disobeyed. If the dogs had obeyed their owners greeted them nicely; if they hadn't obeyed, their owners scolded them.

Guilty looks were measured by counting how many of the following behaviors the dogs showed: avoiding eye contact, lying down and rolling to the side or onto the back, dropping the tail, wagging low and quickly, holding ears down or head down, moving away from the owner, raising a paw, and licking. Dogs were much more likely to show these signs of "guilt" when their owners scolded them, even more signs of guilt when scolded than dogs that weren't guilty! These results indicate that scolding causes the guilty look, not knowledge of wrongdoing.

So, the next time you come home to find that your dog has destroyed your most expensive pair of shoes, take a deep breath before you react. Scolding him may make you feel better, but the only thing it will teach him is that you have intense and unpredictable mood swings-from his perspective you get angry or sad for no reason! Use the situation as a learning experience and think of positive ways to manage your dog's environment that will make it more difficult to do"bad" things - invest in a crate or x-pen, provide appropriate toys and things to chew on, put a lid on the trash can, keep counters clear of food, and make sure he has the opportunity to relieve himself outside with appropriate frequency. You'll be happier because your dog will stay out of trouble, and he'll be happier because you'll always have a smile for him!


Submitted by Jo Rufing


  1. Put the pill in the dog's mouth as far back on the tongue as you can.
  2. Hold the mouth closed, gently of course.
  3. Give a quick blow of air into the dog's nose, which causes them to swallow.
  4. Done.

Submitted by Jo Rufing

Pet Parenting Questionnaire

1. Do I really want a dependant for the next 10 to 15 years?
2. Do I have the patience to house train an animal? Do I want to?
3. Who will care for my pet when I'm away?
4. Can I commit to exercising my dog at least twice a day?
5. Can I afford the basic health care costs (annual shots, licensing, yearly check-ups)?
6. Can I afford unexpected expenses for illnesses or accidents?
7. What if my dog "barks" or "howls" a lot?
8. What if my pet is a "digger" or "scratcher" or claws at the furniture?
9. Am I or are any of my family members allergic to dogs or cats?
10. Does my budget allow for necessities like quality pet food, collars, leashes, bowls, carriers, and toys?
11. What if fleas or ticks become a problem in my yard or house?
12. Do I have the spare time in my day to spend returning my pet's companionship needs?
13. What if the personality or size of my pet as an adult is not what I wanted?
14. Am I willing to clean up the messes my pet creates?
15. What happens to my pet if I move?
16. Does everyone in my household like the idea of having a pet?
17. What if I have children - how will this affect my pet?
18. What happens if I am late getting home?