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Hello, Westie friends!

Let me introduce myself to you.  My name is Duffy and I’m 6 years old. Foster mom says I’m 6 going on 2….you know what that means – I have tons of energy and I’m LOADS of fun! 

I have all the good things people love in a Westie. I love to play and that means with other dogs and kids in addition to people.  I’m a happy, lovable guy who just wants to be with a family that loves me for all my Westie ways.

I’m neutered, up to date on all my shots, micro-chipped, heart-worm negative and on preventative.  I am crate-trained and housebroken perfectly.  I’m healthy as a horse and rarin’ to go!  I do know how to “SIT”, but am also a prime candidate for more obedience training and maybe agility – it would be a shame to waste all my good energy on just fetching a ball.

If you are interested in adopting me into your family, please call my foster parents, John and Steph Wisecarver.  They will say that everything I’ve told you is TRUE. 

If you have more questions about me, please call John and Steph at 320-963-6085 so they can tell you what a great guy I am!


New humane society policies boost pet placement

By Jessica Fleming
Updated: 08/09/2011 11:52:48 PM CDT

Success at the Animal Humane Society can be measured in empty cages.

Since the organization began requiring an appointment to surrender a pet at the beginning of the year, placement rates for animals have improved from 67 percent to 81 percent.

Additionally, the society has reduced the rate of euthanasia by 41 percent.

Animal Humane Society CEO Janelle Dixon said interviewing people who are seeking to surrender a pet provides information about the animal that helps it get adopted more quickly.

“We now know who is coming and why they’re coming, and that helps us prepare,” Dixon said. “Sometimes animals get placed the very same day, which is great.”

Knowing such simple things as a pet’s age, any health or behavior problems and why the owner is surrendering the pet was not a given eight months ago. Owners could simply drop off the animals – even after hours – and they were placed in cages to await a visit with the vet.

When pet owners call to surrender an animal, they speak with a counselor who can help them find resources or make an appointment for the surrender. Animal trainers are available to speak with callers, and many behaviors are relatively easy to fix, Dixon said.

So when the owners enter the exam room with their pets, a vet examines the animal and interviews the owner. Staff members can provide resources to keep the animals from being surrendered in the first place.

The surrender-by-appointment policy is part of a $3.1 million


initiative called Bound for Home, the aim of which is to increase the number of animals placed with a new family and reduce the length of stay for surrendered or stray pets.The independent, local nonprofit has raised about two-thirds of the cost of the initiative, major gifts officer Deanna Kramer said. All the money has come from individual donors and foundations as gifts, she said.

A behavior helpline is staffed seven days a week as part of the initiative. It includes a decrease in the adoption fee for cats older than a year to $50 and a low-cost spay/neuter clinic for the pets of low-income people.

Dixon said the organization, which has locations in five cities in the metro area, hired 28 new employees to help meet their goals.

On Tuesday, as volunteers walked dogs and prepared for the adoption floor to open, many cages were empty, awaiting arrivals from a downstairs holding area. Strays that used to wait in the holding area for a required five-day period to expire are often placed on the adoption floor, where customers can claim an animal before it’s even available to take home.

“It’s really encouraging for everyone here to see the animals going home faster,” Kramer said.

Last year, the shelter’s Golden Valley location still had pet “drop boxes” where pet owners could shut an animal in a cage in the shelter’s entryway 24 hours a day. Once the door was shut, it locked. Cages contained food, water and litter for cats.

The practice was discontinued as part of the new policies, Kramer said, and has contributed to a decrease in the number of “stray” animals the shelter takes in. State law dictates that strays have to be held for five days – in case an owner comes to reclaim them – before being spayed, neutered or adopted.

“The community has responded to and understands what we are doing,” Kramer said. “We all want what’s best for the animals in the end.”

The biggest improvements in statistics have been with cats. A year ago, cats stayed at the humane society an average of 32 days. Now, the average stay is down to eight days.

Dixon and Kramer both said they were surprised by how quickly the new policies paid off.

“I think none of us expected it to happen in six months,” Dixon said. “I think we expected it in a year, year and a half. Needless to say, we’re thrilled.”

Jessica Fleming can be reached at 651-228-5435.

So sorry to have missed the Carver Scott Humane Society’s Walk Fur Love event yesterday. There were thunderstorms predicted all over and from my soggy experience the day before at the Helping Paws event, I knew my books couldn’t risk another possible soaking, so I begged off. I am glad to report that they had a terrific turnout of walkers despite the weather! Yeah! All the CSHS folks’ hard work needed to be rewarded. I’d have followed through if it were just me and my dogs walking in the rain. It’s just that even with a canopy overhead, super high moisture in the air will curl the pages of my books and I can’t be selling damaged goods. Again, my apologies for backing out at the last minute. I am so happy things turned out well for the humane society’s fund-raising anyway!

Come and see me this weekend at one of these great fund-raising events. Go to my site and click on the Appearances page for all the info! See you there!—Sid

CSHS Walk Fur Love, Sunday, May 22

Helping Paws Wag, Walk and Run event Saturday, May 21

This information was provided by Sue Storms, who is the leader of our Westie-lovers group:

Fonzie is looking for an understanding home – a family that has lots of patience (and no cats or young kids) to help him through the transition of moving and accepting a new family. He is a younger, active Westie; healthy, loves to go on walks but is quite vocal and opinionated on many issues!

Attached are a couple pictures of this cute little fella.


If you are interested in Fonzie and wish to speak to his family, please call Michael at 612-889-9111 (cell phone).

I had raced to the Petco when I learned from someone at our local humane society that they were showing a three-year-old male West Highland white terrier for adoption there. Just as I approached this beautiful dog, my heart sank. There was another woman signing his adoption papers. Though disappointed—because I’d looked for such a dog for two years—I would nevertheless have been happy for his getting a good home…if only that were what was happening here.

His intake form read “Reasons animal is being relinquished: family allergic, and dog doesn’t do well alone for long periods.” I almost lost it as this adoptive woman casually said in my presence, “Well, we’re all allergic, too, but we’ll see how it goes.” She followed this up with, “We all work all day, but he’ll be all right, won’t he?” And last, when I noted he was due for a haircut, she wrinkled her nose and said, “Oh you don’t have to do that, do you?”

This woman obviously had no clue what she was getting into with adopting a terrier who’d already had a minimum of two previous homes. And what was worse, she’d raised every possible red flag for the adoption agency and still they let the transaction go through!

Incensed on his behalf, I gave the woman my business card. I told her I already had one Westie, I run a home-based business and thus he’d never be alone for long, and dogs are elevated to god-like status in my house. Pushy broad that I am, despite my Minnesota Nice upbringing, I flat-out said, “When…and if…this doesn’t work out, call me.”

That was on a Sunday in 1996. By the following Thursday, Ludwig was welcomed into his forever home with my menagerie of critters and me.

He was adored, pampered, and cherished every day until his last, when he died of prostate cancer the night before Thanksgiving 2005. This beautiful boy had survived the usually deadly virus leptospirosis two years earlier and went on to be the ring bearer in my wedding in 2004.

When he died, my husband and I knew we wanted to memorialize him somehow yet not be totally centered on ourselves. We decided to hold an All-Pets Memorial service, wherein people could bring photos of their own beloved, long-lost animal family members. An astounding thirty human beings attended, crowded into our living room. Tears, tales, and terrier-shaped treats were shared. We learned about what nearly 100 honored pets had brought into the lives of our friends, and all hearts were healed a bit that day.

Someone there came up to me and said, “Sid, you should write a book about memorializing pets.” That planted the seed that took several years to germinate and finally fully bloom. In August 2009, I published Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss. In it, I provide both personal and professional insights into the animal lover’s unique grieving process.

Just two days after my husband and I sent out prayers to Ludwig and asked him to paw-pick especially for us the next doggie we were supposed to share our lives with, my husband found Mortimer’s listing on Petfinder. (We saved him from the hideous temporary name Sir Chucky—I kept seeing that demon doll from the horror movie Child’s Play—and named him after Cary Grant’s character in Arsenic and Old Lace, Mortimer Brewster, who was so glad to find out that he was “adopted” and therefore wouldn’t inherit the family’s insanity.)

We drove to North Dakota to spring him from the James River Humane Society where he’d been deposited as a stray. The ad in Petfinder said he was three. A visit to our vet, where we learned he had advanced degenerative arthritis, got the response, “Well, I don’t think he’s quite ten.”

I was heartbroken. How could Ludwig have blown it so? I felt I’d lost seven years with my darling boy in a few seconds! I’ve found that sometimes we have to thank the Universe/(Puppy) Powers that be for keeping us in the dark and not giving us exactly what we wish for. They give us what we need.

In all honesty, knowing Mortimer’s advanced age would have deterred us from adopting him just then, as I couldn’t bear the thought of losing another senior so soon after Ludwig’s passing. But if we hadn’t been blissfully unaware, we wouldn’t have welcomed into our lives this phenomenally wonderful dog. He soon had two younger siblings to keep him young at heart, too.

By the time I started writing the book, I had added to my family those three Westies (yes, I’m brand loyal, but they’re always rescues), namely Mortimer, Blanche and Keely. They blended in beautifully with fellow rescues Giles and Xander (my cats), and Atticus and Scout (my finches).

My bond with all of these animals led me to pursue ordination as an animal chaplain, to further help me reach out in a meaningful way to others who are dealing with the pain of pet loss. Mortimer taught me to live in the moment as much as possible and to cherish every moment with our beloved companions. We made a concerted effort to ensure his last years were splendid, too. The experience tested my convictions in the book and showed me what I’d learned in researching and writing it really did work to help my heart heal after my much-loved Mortimer passed away rather suddenly just after I’d finished the book and turned over its pages to the designer for layout. His story became the book’s poignant epilogue. I have a peaceful heart knowing he and Ludwig both are properly immortalized and thanked for their invaluable roles in this life-changing venture.

I can see now the reason Ludwig found me this superb senior—so his passing would perfectly timed for me to have my two precious dogs as my “bookends.”

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