Sunday, August 22, 2010

View blog from Sunday 7/18/10

and then compare that photo there with the one here of Samauri. Can this possibly be the same Akita -- ????

Yes it can - testament to what loving care can do for an Akita who has been badly treated, woefully underfed, never loved & given no vet care in his original home -- he blossomed in ARWNY's care at Joann Dimon's home with her family once he came to rescue.

And happily living now with his family that adopted him, you can see this happy, loving boy has become what all our Akitas should be -- stress-free, happy and beloved!

Thank you to everyone for caring about Samauri. Obviously his original home didn't so I am just happy he ended up with us at ARWNY so he could be cared for properly!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Work and dreams....

Work, for good or bad, is a necessity in most of our lives. Its just such a shame that in mine, it interferes with what I want to really do -- Akita rescue. I've been out of work now for a very long time - having both knees replaced was a big deal so I've been on work disability since the first knee operation. Now I'm faced with having to go back to work. Most likely to a day job. UGH!! Most likely to one that will sap all my rapidly draining mental ability so that I'll be a zombie when I leave at nite.

OH NO -- who will answer all the emails I get daily? Who will get "snarky" on facebook on our pages there? Who will find links to help those who ask questions on our yahoo groups or via the website? Who will help Ms. Nancy figure out all the doggies in need & how we can help?

Most of all -- who will do the blog???

If I have to go back to a daytime job & sit in front of a computer all day listening to people whine at me while on the phone in customer service again, when I get home at nite I'll be zoned out and not want to get online after work or on my time off work....whatever shall I do???

If only I could win the lottery or find a fairy godmother to grant me a wish or two -- then I could just do what is more important than WORK -- and that's RESCUE!!

Oh to dream.....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Shelter assessments....

can be both a curse and a blessing. There are shelters we work with that we know are right-on when they call us about an Akita. If they tell us the Akita is lovely & sweet, we know it is. But then there are shelters that we can't trust, places that change personnel & "testers" too often and have methods of testing we can't rely on.

Take Matheo for instance. This pup came into the big NYC shelter as an owner surrender. That means, right off the bat, he's doomed, because owner surrenders can be euthanized as soon as they walk thru the door; unlike strays, they don't need to be held for any length of time so Matheo's time was extremely limited. The email that came that day about him from the shelter said he was 2+ yrs of age and food/toy possesive -- but not rawhide possesive. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, that's a bit odd. Possession is possession and usually if an Akita is toy possessive, it follows they would also be rawhide possessive. That got us thinking...

Now, I'll be totally upfront. I will NOT deal with nor rehome any Akita who is truly food possessive or "possession" possessive. Akitas are a tricky breed -- intelligent enough to work around most issues & able to rethink most behaviorists' & trainers' methods. I've known of Akitas to hide these traits while in the shelters & in the care of some rescues until they get rehomed, where they grow comfortable enough to start showing their "true" nature when rehomed in a short period of time -- which is why I don't like any rescue Akita over the age of 6 months to go to a home unless its been in our care at least 3-4 weeks. I want to know everything about the Akita so we push to find out what triggers each Akita has & what will set that Akita off -- because placing a food aggressive Akita is a very dangerous thing to do for any breed rescue but especially with a breed as big & tough as an Akita. Akitas that guard their food bowls/toys/bones are often very upfront about it, snarling if you even walk in the room they are in or walking past them while they eat or chew on a bone. But there are Akitas who act perfectly normal until the day you forgot to add something to the bowl & go to reach for it, or the day the Akita grabs something from the trash or off a shelf or table and when you go to reach for it to ask for it back; you find yourself being badly bitten by an Akita you never knew had any possession issues. Its our job to find these things out before placement, so its why we work with them so much while in our care.

Sometimes, in other breeds, with enough re-training, you can break a dog of food aggression because other breeds have different personalities. In my experience however, you cannot break an Akita of true possession issues. If the Akita has true food/possession issues (and isn't a starved, hungry Akita from some puppymill situation where it never knew when it would get food again) then its a situation I'm not willing to handle. I won't put humans at risk for being attacked over a food bowl or toys on the ground or walking past a rawhide on the floor. There are some good training sites that help people to understand how to raise a puppy properly to prevent this issue
but with an adult Akita, I'm not willing to deal with it because my experience has taught me that humans WILL get bitten, that the Akita will NOT get over it; so I'm not willing to see someone get bitten in trying to overcome these issues. You have to remember -- we are working to make each Akita in our care safe to be rehomed to the greater number of homes out there - humans tend to forget what we tell them, that they can't touch, pet, hug a dog while it has a bone or is eating among other things -- we can't take the risk that an Akita we rehome will end up in a place where it will react badly to the human error factor. So we must keep that human error factor in mind when deciding which Akitas are safe to rehome.

In the case of an Akita who comes in starving & is worried over its food bowl, that sometimes can work itself out; it all depends on the Akita itself, its past situation and what we know of its former living situation. Sometimes, an Akita that has been starved just has to learn food is always forthcoming which often happens very quickly - then the food issues become non-issues because the Akita is no longer starving, hungry or worried about where the next meal comes from. That I can work with, that I feel ok about handling; it shows itself quickly, within days, once the belly is always full and the Akita doesn't have to panic over where its next meal is coming from.

However, in Matheo's case, something about his shelter info just didn't sit right with us here at ARWNY. So Matt Dimon, Joann's wonderful experienced husband, offered to go to the shelter in NYC the next day to test this Akita himself - after all, Matt said, they 'shared a name' -- Matt is Matheo Dimon legally. If this Matheo the Akita showed any hint of possession issues with anything, Matt promised to help ease Matheo "Over the Rainbow Bridge" while at the shelter. What Matt found instead of food possession was an Akita in pain and a shelter system not set up to even notice or examine for pain before testing.

Matt went right into Matheo's run with him and found a very young male Akita with horrible skin issues under his coat -- oozing neck full of pus obviously from a collar left to embed into his skin & just recently removed. A shoulder open and raw, infected with likely staph or yeast infections. Underbelly raw, patches of skin showing thru the thin coat. Underweight at 90 lbs, Matheo wasn't the least bit food possessive or possesive of anything -- but he was against having some huge plastic hand poking his painful shoulder, pushing on his wounded neck. It had nothing to do with the food or the toys - it had everything to do with him hurting.

The 'tester' at this shelter admitted to Matt she didn't get close enough to this Akita to even see this as she was "afraid" of Akitas -- probably all big dogs but definately Akitas. So Matheo was labeled dangerous and not able to be rehomed. He was essentially condemned to death. He was also much younger than his shelter sheet said; within minutes he was looking to Matt for attention - probably the first positive attention he had ever had.

Luckily this shelter was close enough that we could personally evalute Matheo. But what happens when we aren't close enough and must trust a shelter to give us an honest evalution? We can't pick up the phone and call people asking them to go into a shelter near them and try to provoke an Akita to attack them over food. Yet that's what we need to know before-hand -before we take on an Akita whose personality might be in question, we need to know before we make all the effort to bring an Akita into our care in rescue from a long distance.

So what can be done to prevent mistakes like this from happening to other Akitas? Well, as many have discussed over and over -- an entire rehab of the shelter system needs to happen to change the "big picture" overall. Qualified trainers, with no breed-specific agendas of their own, need to be hired and do proper tests - not prod and poke some dog while he's eating, but actually work with the dogs to see if they are food possessive and not just reacting to some foreign plastic object hitting them on the neck, head or shoulders. Shelters need to rethink their personality assessments -- there are often underlying reasons of health that cause some dogs to react negatively to various scenerios. Health should be a primary consideration for any dog coming into the shelter system. Dogs coming into shelters are scared, stressed & terrified -- testing them the day they show up doesn't work and often this standarized test most shelters use doesn't work the same with an Akita as it will a Bichon, for example. Giving them time is the better indicator. I know shelters are overloaded, I realize there often isn't time so don't think I have blinders on or feel this is an easy fix. Its why I say - there needs to be an entire overhaul of the shelter system. We are failing the pets every day and it has to be changed. I just wish every shelter would get on the same page so we could all work together and help the animals. This is a subject for another day because its too big and too overwhelming for this discussion here.....

In addition, to prevent problems -- owners need to learn how to properly raise a puppy so it doesn't become food possessive. Owners often cause this in their puppies, then dump them when they get too big & the owners become afraid of them. So we need owners willing to raise their puppies right or we will keep on seeing these issues (along with a myriad of others!).

Rescues also need to work closely with each dog in their care to test for things like this before they rehome any dog. Taking any dog from a shelter one day and rehoming it the same day or the next day isn't doing rescue -- there are words for that but its not RESCUE. Rescue means we evaluate, work with, vet, properly temperament test and strategize over what home is best for this particular dog -- not just any home for any dog, but the right home for each individual dog in our care. That is what rescue should be about. Unfortunately its not always about that. But that's a subject for another day also.

Today -- I am just happy that Matheo has been saved and will be made healthy with ARWNY so he can grow up into the wonderful Akita we know he is. Hats off to the collective effort that made this happen so Matheo didn't die alone, scared and stressed in the shelter due to a poor shelter assessment.

***NEW NOTE: Matheo has been adopted by a police detective who adores him -- Matheo has shown himself to be a perfectly housebroken, well-behaved boy who has done well in his new home. His adopter could not be happier. ARWNY could not be happier. Thank heavens we did NOT take his initial evaluation at face-value!!***

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sign up NOW for the ACA National Akita Parade!

The premium list is posted on the Akita Club of America's website! YEAH!! Go to:

Scroll all the way thru to the last page -- page 13. Print it off, fill it in, and send it off with your $5.00 to enter! I've attached a picture of it here so you'll know which page you need to print off and sign!!

We are so very excited -- the ACA's National Specialty, to be held in Gettysburg PA this year, is the 25th Anniversary of the National Specialty. And its being held right here, in our area!!

We want to see as many adopted Akitas as possible in the parade -- so please, plan to join us on Friday 9/24/10 for this PARADE OF TITLEHOLDERS! If your Akita has any kind of title, like CD, TDI, etc by all means, we want you there too!!! The parade is a lovely event and highlights the rescues in a special way; it also shows the wonderful ways Akitas can be versatile!

If you have any questions at all about the Parade, just write me -- and I'll be more than happy to help!

So come one, come all -- don't miss out on a chance to see this wonderful National Specialty so close to our area and for sure don't miss out on the parade!!

On a great side note:

See the wonderful ARWNY booth while you are at the National -- our raffles are a sight to behold and you'll definately want to get some tickets -- you can get them ahead of time at

or start saving your money up now to buy tons of them at the show!! Either way -- just be sure to buy them as this raffle helps us fund our rescue efforts to save Akitas!

Friday, August 6, 2010

People can be so cruel...

and not just to the Akitas. To us too, the volunteers of Akita rescue. Those of us that give of our time as volunteers, getting no monetary reward for doing what we do. Those of us who often juggle 2 and 3 jobs so we can help the Akitas in our care better while in return we have no time for ourselves. Those of us who have no life of our own, because whatever spare time we have is spent doing rescue, don't deserve to be treated cruely when all we are doing is helping -- doing a job no one else wants to do.

Sometimes -- time slips away from us and we don't call someone back ASAP or email a reply immediately and then the nasty comments come, fast and furious. We get overwhelmed by emails & phone calls because we don't get 4 or 5 a day, we get hundreds; we get overwhelmed with spending hours on end with adopters; we get overwhelmed with trips to the vets with our rescues to get them healthy; we get overwhelmed with driving hours each way to get Akitas from one place to another to save them all week long. We all have families who suffer from lack of time with us because we are too often away on long transports, or at the kennel meeting with potential adopters or getting to know the Akitas that were given up so we can do successful adoptions in the future or pouring over applications & doing reference checks on them all. When we are supposed to be asleep, we are often instead loosing sleep while agonizing over decisions we must make; when we are supposed to be on our lunch hour at work relaxing, we are often hunched over our computers while eating something from a machine so we can read emails or catch up the latest veterinary news to help our Akitas; heck some of us have even spent our lunch hours at the kennel walking Akitas or helping water & feed them just so we can feel we are doing our share.

Few people walk in our shoes -- yet everyone wants to be our judge. If we don't answer an email immediately, we are labeled "uncaring" or "rude" or "rotten"; even worse, when we DO answer an email but not in the way the person wanted, we are "stupid", "idiotic" or often we are just plain "@#(*$&#(#*&#" to whoever wanted to dump their Akita on us or refused to follow our advice to help them get their Akita healthy again with the right methods or train their Akita to help it be a better family companion.

Sometimes we make mistakes in adoptions -- we chose someone we "think" is really great only to find out later they aren't what we thought they were. We aren't perfect because we are after all, human. We try our best but that's all we can do. Having an adopter turn on US, the very people they should be thankful for, is disheartening and sad. Everything we say gets turned around, misunderstood, ignored and ultimately things get uglier and uglier -- when all we had was the best interest of the Akita in mind. It breaks our hearts to have an adopter decide WE are the enemy when all we try to do is help. We want to help, we need to help, we volunteer expressly to help. Yet when an adopter turns against us because they don't want to follow our advice, its heartbreaking to us, in ways someone who is not an Akita rescue volunteer cannot understand.

People can be cruel to us, the very people they should be thankful for. We are the volunteers that do the dirty work - the things they don't want to do. We are the people who sob over their Akita when we have to euthanize it because they don't care enough to hold it in their arms and do it humanely. We are the ones that clean up the dog pooh, pee, vomit from their older Akitas they have dumped in a shelter to get rid of it with no feelings of loyalty to our majestic breed. We are the ones that do without vacations or trips because we can't be away from the rescue Akitas too long or we feel guilty. We are the ones that don't have new cars or fancy clothes because all our spare money goes to rescue to cover bills that donations can't reach far enough to cover.

We don't want parades in our honor or plaques hung on walls with our names prominently displayed. We don't want to be called "heros" or have songs written about us. All we ask for is respect. The one thing we sometimes do not get -- respect. Aretha spelled it out -- R E S P E C T -- not to hard to give to the people who do the jobs you don't want to do, refuse to do or just plain don't care enough to do -- just a little respect. Its not too much to ask for -- but it seems to be getting rare for us volunteers to get it from those around us anymore.

Maybe its a sign of the times - people have changed, maybe its to be expected. But I hope not, because its not anything I know I can get used to. So -- go ahead, walk in our shoes for a month, or just a week, even only a day, if you dare to. Do all we do, see all we see, experience all we experience. Perhaps then, instead of disrespect, you might decide we do, as volunteers in Akita Rescue, deserve a bit of respect.

A light might go off in your head and you might bite your tongue next time before spewing out something hateful. You might not write that nasty email or call one of us the names we often get called. You might actually realize we are helping, we are the volunteers needed for this job; that without us, there will be no one to save the Akitas we save, to rehome the Akitas we do rehome or help the Akitas we can help in many ways.

We aren't the enemy - so why do so many people try to make us out to be just that? And lest you think, when reading this post today, that I am just being a whiney, self-righteous b@tch for writing this - you are right. Tonite (its 3am BTW), I am feeling it deep in my soul; feeling that I'm tired of being taken for granted, spit on, yelled at, sick of viscious nasty emails from the very people I set out to help. That I'm tired of crying over other peoples' old, sick, unwanted Akitas, tired of loosing sleep figuring out how we are to care for so many with so few resources. You are right - I am being a whiney, self-righteous b@tch tonite.

But the one thing you can count on -- is that when I wake up in the morning, I'll be ready to start my volunteering all over again and this sad, sick feeling in my soul will pass -- as it always does. For the sake of the Akitas, you can count on that!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I want to quit....

A fellow rescuer posted this on facebook -- changed the breed to be AKITA so you'd all get the drift of what its like to do Akita Rescue -- could not have said it better myself, so hats off to this author --


*I want to quit!*
My health is bad. There are days I feel so terrible that I can barely move. My phone bills are outrageous, and I could have replaced my van with the funds I have spent these last 30 years---on animals that were not my own.

*I want to quit!*
I spend hours and hours emailing about dogs. There may be 500 messages when I start--and at 4 AM, when I finally shut down the computer, there are still 500 emails to be read.

*I want to quit!*
Gosh, I haven't the time left to email my friends. I can't remember the last book I read, and I gave up my subscription to my local newspaper---I used to enjoy reading it, cover to cover, but now it often ends up in the bottom of the squirrel's cage---unread.

*I want to quit!*
I've spent days emailing what seems like everyone---trying to find a foster home, help for a dog languishing in a shelter---but his time has run out, and the shelter has had to euthanize to make room for the next sad soul.

*I want to quit!*
I swear, I walk away from my computer to stretch my legs---let the dogs out---and come back to find another dog in desperate need. There are times I really dread checking my email. How will I find the funds, the help, to save yet another dog?

*I want to quit!*
I save one dog, and two more take its place. Now an owner who doesn't
want his dog---it won't stay in his unfenced yard. An intact male wanders... This bitch got pregnant by a stray... This 3-month-old pup killed baby chicks... The dog got too big... This person's moving and needs to give up his pet. I ask you, friends---what town, what city, what state doesn't allow you to own a pet?

*I want to quit!*
I just received another picture, another sad soul with tormented eyes that peer out of a malnourished body. I hear whimpering in my sleep, have nightmares for days...

*I want to quit!*
I just got off the phone. "Are you *Akita* Rescue? We want to adopt a male to breed to our female." How many times do I have to explain? I have tried to explain about genetics, about health and pedigrees. I explain that rescue NEUTERS! I usually end up sobbing, as I explain about the vast numbers of animals dying in shelters across the country, as I describe the condition many of these animals are found in. I wonder if they really heard me...

*I want to quit!*
It is not like I don't have enough rescues of my own to worry about---but others have placed dogs improperly and aren't there to advise the new owners.

*I want to quit!*
I have trusted the wrong people--- had faith and heart broken...

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*
My dog, lays his head in my lap, he comforts me with his gentle presence---and the thought of his cousins suffering stirs my heart.

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*
One of those 500 emails is from an adopter. They are thanking me for the most wonderful dog on earth---they cannot imagine life without their friend---their life is changed, and they are so grateful.

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*
One of my adopted Rescues has visited a nursing home. A patient that has spent the last few years unable to communicate, not connecting---Lifts his hand to pat the huge head in his lap, softly speaks his first words in ages--- to this gentle furchild.

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*
A Good Samaritan has found and vetted a lost baby, "I can't keep him, but I'll take care of him until you find his forever home."

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*
"Jamie took his first steps holding on to our Akita."
"Joan, you should see this dog nursing this hurt kitten!"
“I was so sick, and this dog never left my side..."

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*
I get an email from a fellow rescuer, "Haven't heard from you in a while---you OK? You know I think of you..."

*AND THEN... *
A dozen rescuers step up to help, to transport, to pull, and to offer encouragement. I have friends I have never seen, but we share tears, joys, and everything in between. I am not alone. I am blessed with family of the heart, my fellow Rescuers.

Just days ago it was a friend who shared her wit and wisdom, whose late night email lifted my heart. Sometimes it is friends who only have time to forward you a smile. Often, it is my friends who forward me the notices of dogs in need.

There are Rescuers who see a failing transport and do everything they can do find folks to pull it together for you. Rescuers who'll overnight or foster your dog while you seek transport. There are Rescuers not used to or comfortable with your breed, but who put aside their discomfort to help. There are Rescuers whose words play the music of our hearts. Foster homes that love your Rescue, and help to make them whole again---body and spirit. Foster homes that fit your baby in, though it may not be their breed. Rescuers whose talents and determination give us tools to help us. Rescuers we call on for help in a thousand ways, who answer us, who hear our pleas. Rescuers who are our family, our strength, our comrades in battle.

I know I cannot save every dog in need. I know my efforts are a mere drop in a sea. I know that if I take on just one more---those I have will suffer.

*I want to quit! But I won't. *
When I feel overwhelmed, I'll stroke my dog's head while reading my fellow Rescuers' emails. I'll cry with them, I'll laugh with them---and they will help me find the strength to go on.

*I want to quit! But not today.*
There's another email, another dog needing Rescue.

This piece is dedicated, with love and gratitude, to all my fellow Rescuers.

The author is unknown

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lets pretend for a moment that you are about to write a fictional story about an abused & neglected Akita -- so you have to come up some of the saddest situations you can imagine. So for the sake of your fictional story, just imagine a family decided one day not to feed their Akita anymore. Then imagine they let their Akita become infested with fleas & ticks to the point that the Akita has lost its plush fur and instead was covered in scabs & infections. Imagine again the family this Akita would defend with its life, that it still trusts totally, takes the Akita for a ride into one of the most dangerous cities in the USA today, then opens the car door without stopping & throws the Akita's emaciated body out onto the hot pavement. Heartbreaking fiction, right? Sad sad details guaranteed to make the public cry real tears!!

No need to imagine fiction, as this is Samurai's factual story.

Samurai was given a special name by the animal control officer who found this Akita under an abandoned car, fighting to stay alive with his will. Samurai had collapsed during the heat wave after he was thrown from that moving car. He had not eaten, or had water in 3 days. A citizen noticed Samurai's body laying motionless under the car and called for help. Samurai was taken to the vet hospital where he remained for 2 weeks until he was well enough to be released into the warm rescue arms of ARWNY.

Here are Joann Dimon's impressions after taking Sam to her home to foster:

"Upon meeting this approx. 18 month old male Akita I was taken aback, not so much at his appearance but the manner in which he greeted me. This big boy's fur-less tail never stopped wagging because Sam never stopped loving people despite what his owners had done to him. He has never met anyone of any age that he is not overjoyed to see. Samurai passed all of his temperament tests with flying colors and it does not stop there. Sam enjoys the company of female dogs & cats. He is housebroken, but does need leash work which we are working on now with steady improvement. Samurai has since been neutered and brought up to date on his shots; he tested negative on heartworm & Lymes. Samurai is a heavy-boned large-framed male that will need to gain another 30 pounds. You have to see the head on this boy-he is going to be a show stopper once he gets his coat back. Samurai can go to a home with children 10 and older who know how to treat and respect this special breed."

You can only imagine how sick we are over thinking someone would treat an Akita like this -- that anyone would be so uncaring or unthinking to do this to a magnificent Akita like Samurai. So now the hunt will be on to find the perfect, forever home for this wonderful Akita. Are you the special home we can entrust with loving Sam forever??

Saturday, July 17, 2010

When the right home comes along....

its just perfect in so many ways. Like its meant to be -- no hoopla, no panic, no miscommunications. Just sheer perfection and it does our hearts good at ARWNY. We have those -- perfect homes. Homes I often say "Gee, could you adopt ME too?" Homes that are meant to be, for whatever reason, for that particular Akita, at that specific time. For reasons unknown to us, the specifically perfect home for that specifically perfect Akita finds us -- I don't know how, but I suspect it has something to do with all those Akitas up there "over the Bridge" who are looking out for us!!

There are really good adoptions we have done that I will forever be grateful for; many wonderful dear forever friends we have made over the years from those adoptions and I feel very lucky to have them in my life. Some of those adoptions take time, working out particulars and finding just the right Akita, sometimes having to take one back & work with another because it just didn't work or the folks keep on coming back waiting to find the Akita that they feel will work best. Its not that those aren't great homes -- they are and I applaud every single person that ever comes to adopt an Akita thru rescue -- it takes a special caring person to bring home ANY adult Akita and make it work. Every adoption is a good adoption to me, when it works out wonderfully no matter what -- we love every one of our good adopters!!!

But then, sometimes something just falls from the sky when we least expect it, when we are down in the dumps about an Akita that just seems to not have a chance at a home for whatever reason; and you know when that perfect times suddenly happens -- "Geez, I must have been REALLY extra good this month, cause doG just sent me the perfect home for this Akita that we had so little hope for."

No working out particulars, no showing of two, eight, thirteen different Akitas until one clicks. Sometimes out of the blue, with no warning, when the sunlight aligns on our heads JUST right -- someone just walks up to us at a public education function or finds our website on line and says/writes, "I want that old/sick/specific needs Akita right there on that page, he's mine, because he NEEDS ME." No need to meet other Akitas, no need to counsel on what the home will need or if they can handle this specific age/health/needs issue -- they come already saying, "I have already called my vet, discussed with them this Akita's needs. My trainer is on standby to help me with any issues. I have a crate, I work from home/can come home at lunch every day to walk him. I own my own home, have no other pets, my previous Akita had health issues/was old when I adopted him/had specific needs too, and I understand them so no worries."

Sometimes -- the stars just align right. A particular Akita may sit for weeks, months even, making us worry we will never find that perfect home. We get antsy, starting to question how to ever place an Akita with these issues, or this age, or these needs.
Then the clouds part; the perfect home walks in, and our worries are over. Their vet references are over the moon. Their personal references are sterling. Their home check is sheer perfection. Their attitude is just what we wish to always deal with. And best of all - the Akita they want WANTS THEM TOO!!!

Over the years, I have had those homes -- some are etched in my memory; the Akitas and people have become almost legends in my mind. Some of the adopters have sadly passed on, and I like to think of them up there, over the Rainbow Bridge, playing with the Akita they bonded to so magnificently that had so many issues that they were happy to overlook.

And over the years as part of ARWNY, we have been blessed again and again like this. Some special needs Akitas have come to us -- and some equally special HOMES have also just walked out of the blue, fell into our laps and we cannot thank the doGs above enough for sending them our way.

Sometimes, when you get to a point of almost giving up on people, they surprise you. I am glad to be part of rescue, so that my faith in humans, while often tested, gets renewed ever so often by wonderful situations like these special adopters.

You know who you are -- I don't need to mention you by names......just know how much you mean to me!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July Holiday for us -- NIGHTMARE for our Akitas!

I like fireworks as much as the next person. Safe, handled-by-professional fireworks set off way far from my house. But for some reason, there is always someone wanting to set off fireworks in the street, late at nite, or even all afternoon if they can get away with it in neighborhoods and mine is no different.

In the past, I've lived so far out in the country at the two different kennel locations that we were never bothered by fireworks. But now we are in a neighborhood where people think that New Year's Eve and 4th of July are their own personal holidays during which every conceivable noise MUST be made.

Last nite, not even 4th of July YET technically, at 11:48pm, someone right in front of my house, set off a string of loud fireworks up and down the street. They went on and on -- I don't know who set them off but of course by the time the police showed up, it was all over, no one caught.

Poor Zeus trembled and hid in his crate. Having lived his whole life in a kennel run in the country, then at the kennel out in the country with ARWNY for the last year, he has never likely heard anything like this. HE DID NOT LIKE IT! And neither did I!
So -- a word to the wise! More dogs become strays during 4th of July than any other time of the year -- because they BOLT FOR FREEDOM when hearing these loud noises!

So peruse a few of these websites and get some good ideas for helping your pet to handle the stress - and to make sure YOUR pet isn't one of the statistics this year:

On yet another 4th of July note -- PLEASE do not expect your Akita to have fun at family picnics. Heck, I don't have fun at them. But its super unfair to expect that your Akita will want to be around a bunch of strangers who will want to thud him on the head, push him around, eat in front of him, possibly tease him or get in his face with their obnoxious behavior. PLEASE PLEASE leave your Akita at home, safe in a crate or locked house area -- do not leave him outside even in a safe kennel due to the noise factor this holiday. PLEASE if you are having the picnic at your home, DO NOT leave your Akita out with everyone milling around. PLEASE -- strange kids screaming and running around with sparklers or food in their hands is just asking for trouble, in the heat, the humidity and the stress of the day. Even your OWN kids doing that might have a bad reaction from your Akita during this stressful time. I can't begin to tell you how many emails and calls we get during "picnic" season due to nips, bites, growls from Akitas. WHY oh WHY would anyone expect any Akita to tolerate a picnic environment? I will never understand it.

So please for the sake of your Akita's safety -- NO FIREWORKS and NO PICNICS -- allow your Akita to have a safe & secure 4th of July!!

Friday, July 2, 2010


for Rescued Akitas and AKC Title-Holding Akitas

FRIDAY September 24, 2010
Eisenhower Hotel
2634 Emmitsburg Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325

All adopted Akitas are invited to attend!

Prior registration is necessary!!

Go to for more information!

Or email

Don’t miss out on this great parade – it highlights our breed in a positive way!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Inundated with sick Akitas!

Seems 2010 is the year that ARWNY will be inundated with sick Akitas!! From ARWNY trying to help a puppy in CA that was born with no eyes (Thank you TikiHut for ultimately taking on this pup!) to Polaris from the midwest that we took in due to his neurological/malnutrition issues, to little Piper with the hole in her heart, to our little Sparkle who came to us with a tummy full of gravel (as noted in the X-ray above!!), seizures & pneumonia, it seems our role in 2010 is going to be medical saviors more than any other year recently!! This is of course, in addition to the heartworm cases we have (4), severe Lyme issue cases (2), also Kina who was frozen to the ground for days, chipped out of the ice & requiring extensive medical care for her frozen feet & skin, Big Luna's severe skin issues from neglect, Pixie who is still with us who came in with gunshot wounds, stab wounds & horrible skin issues, and the condition our Rice/Kenja was in from his adopter's lack of care when he was returned to us. Then there are the somewhat healthy rest of the bunch with what now seems like "normal" hypothyroid issues....too many to mention!

There are so many ways today to help dogs -- so many organizations out there willing to give care & treatment, help with medicines, especially here on the East Coast -- that I just don't understand why someone would allow animals to get into the conditions we are seeing in today's modern world.

I find it horrible to think that a puppy would come to us from a VETERINARIAN'S office thru a foster home, with pneumonia, gravel in her tummy & already at 12 weeks put on phenobarbital. Luckily our ARWNY vets are going to be watching her progress very carefully to see if she even needs this very harsh medicine at her very young age, to treat her pneumonia & empty her tummy of gravel. Carla is fostering Sparkle in Phila right now for ARWNY, thank heavens, so we know she is in good hands!

I find it horrible that owners living in PRIME Lyme & heartworm areas, would not give their pets proper medicines to prevent these illnesses nor get them tested yearly. Lyme can cause so many issues in a dog if left untreated -- we are currently seeing those results in two of our long-term Lyme dogs due to their owner/breeder never testing them nor treating them. As for heartworm, we all know if its left untreated, it will kill a dog -- yet recently we have taken in 4 Akitas that were HW positive & their owners/breeders never bothered to vet them at all for this condition. Its so well-known in our area -- yet people still ignore it & don't prevent it.

I find it horrible that a breeder would dump a puppy she bred after labeling him deaf & blind, when in fact, the puppy was so malnourished he was showing signs of neurological damage, not deaf & blind. When ARWNY stepped in with the help of our wonderful new friend DJ Rotter( out in Minnesota, we didn't know what to expect but we just KNEW we could not leave this puppy if we could help it somehow. Polaris has been adopted by a wonderful former adopter of ours after being fostered by Carla -- but his fate could have been much worse had he not gotten the proper nutrition at the time he did -- why breed puppies if you aren't going to properly care for them in your home? Its a mystery why this breeder dumped this puppy labeling him deaf & blind without even realizing he was starving right in front of her eyes!

I find it horrible that a petstore will sell a puppy with a very significant heart issue to an unsuspecting buyer then refuse to help with the medical treatment. Actually, I still don't understand why anyone would even BUY a puppy from a petstore but that's a whole 'nother story. Piper's condition is very serious and whoever the vets were that initially passed her as "sound" to be transported across the country to be sold in a petstore should lose their licenses. This puppy should never have been ok'd for transport or sale to the public. Luckily for Piper, she ended up with ARWNY so we found her a wonderful home with former adopters who will care for her & give her whatever is medically needed.

There are resources out there today to help -- shelters do low-cost spay/neuter today, most towns hold Rabies Clinics yearly & many towns now also hold VACCINE clinics for other needed shots -- all low cost. Many vets will work with you to give discounts if you need them financially -- just ask. Many shelters have vet clinics associated with them that give low-cost vet care also. There's no excuse today for any Akita to NOT be properly taken care of, medically.

This is prime LYME & Heartworm season, with summer being here so please use monthly heartworm & all-natural flea/tick products to keep your pet from getting Lyme. There is no excuse in today's world for any dog to suffer from heartworms. None. And Lyme can be easily treated if contracted; and prevented safely with all-natural products to keep the fleas & ticks away.

Instead of allowing your Akita to suffer with any diseases or not to give them proper medical care for any reason, check out and see if you can find help in your state. You may have to drive a bit -- but isn't your Akita worth it? Or reach out to us in rescue -- we will help you find resources that will allow your Akita to live its life healthy.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

No Excuse for This!!

Here at ARWNY, we trust the adopters we choose to do right by our beloved Akitas when they leave with them at adoption time. We do as much as we can to follow up with our Akitas -- we email, we have a yahoo group for adopters, we hold a yearly Akita Picnic for our adopters to attend, we send out newsletters, we are available 24/7 on email, our website is visible at all times. Yet sometimes -- sometimes we find even with all our efforts, the one of our Akitas falls on bad times without our knowing it. It breaks our hearts, upsets us all so much, and the financial and emotional burden it adds to rescue is inexcusable.

Our little Kenjai was adopted out from the litter we called the "Mommy & Daddy" litter in 2008 -- the two Akitas found together in NJ in the parking lot of a hotel, who would not leave each other's side nor leave the parking lot. We renamed them Mitsu & Shugo. ARWNY took them in, and Mommy/Mitsu gave birth to a very sweet, lovely litter of purebred puppies at ARWNY volunteer Carla Boyd's house. They were lovingly raised for 8 weeks by Carla, and we screened new homes very carefully. As each puppy left, they went with a thick booklet put together for each new home, with tons of help in it, along with all our contact info.

So it was devastating to us to get an email recently from a neighbor of the adopter of Kenjai, saying what bad condition he was in, how thin he was and that he needed to be taken back into ARWNY. Her story was that the adopter didn't have the means to reach out to ARWNY so she did it for her. We rushed into action that same day, contacting the neighbor, then the adopter, to set up a transport up to his region in the next several days so he could come back to ARWNY. Then, in a surprise move, Joann Dimon, another ARWNY volunteer, receives a phone call that next morning at 6am from his adopter, saying "He has to go NOW" and describing a dog that sounded so much sicker than we were lead to believe that we were sure he was on death's doorstep. (Hmmmm one minute we couldn't be reached by the adopter, next minute the adopter called Joann at 6am to demand he leave ASAP????) Our vets at Willingboro Vet Clinic agreed to have him come directly to their clinic and our volunteer Deb Karfs immediately made arrangements to get Kenjai to the clinic that same day despite the distance.

See the picture of Kenjai when he was surrendered back to ARWNY that is posted here? NO Akita adopted out should come back to any rescue in this condition -- there is NO excuse on earth for it, NONE. ARWNY is always available to help, we are ALWAYS willing to do whatever it takes for our Akitas. Once we got his vet records, it was quite clear Kenjai hadn't even been vetted in well over a year; he was sadly lacking for any care, being fed grocery-store dog food and this was NOT a recent situation -- poor Kenjai has been suffering a long time!! Whatever the adopter's excuses, none of them added up -- ARWNY is always easy to reach -- if you can't reach Nancy, you can reach Kathy; if you can't reach Kathy, you can reach Joanne or Carla. The adopter was given our very thick adoption packet, and all contact info was in the package. It was obviously NEVER used. We would never have allowed one of ours to end up like this.

Well he's in our care now and Dr. Larry Wolf at Willingboro Vet can't say enough good things about Kenjai and his wonderful temperament, despite his horrid condition. He is still at the Vet's office, where he has been undergoing tests, being treated medically for a number of issues and we are thrilled to report he is responding well to all the attention he is getting 24/7 from the staff!!

Its disheartening to think that one of the people we trust the most -- our adopters -- could care so little for the Akita they adopted. Its really made me rethink my trust in people. And its made me become even more protective in my feelings about the Akitas in our care. We aren't mind-readers & we certainly can't predict the future to be able to prevent this from ever happening again. But somehow we all need to figure out a way to do just that. These Akitas count on us to protect them and protect them we do -- now we will have to become even more stringent in our methods to find great homes.

You know what -- 2010 is certainly so far showing to be a very sad year for rescue....I can only hope the 2nd half changes my perspective!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This month is devoted to preventing a VERY serious and VERY preventable disease called HEARTWORMS that our dogs suffer from when their owners do NOT use monthly Heartworm Preventative.

Heartworm disease is very serious for your Akita to deal with. Its becoming more and more prevelant as owners are looking for ways to cut costs due to financial issues -- medicines like this are the first to go when the budget gets tighter. But if you live in a heartworm-ridden area like the Northeast or the South, you absolutely cannot forgo Heartworm Preventative given monthly!!

Read the following websites -- there is a LOT of good information on each site and they will help you understand this disease a bit better and why its important that you prevent it from happening to your Akita.

Heartworm infection in the dog induces or may induce pulmonary endothelial damage, villous proliferation, and activation and attraction of leukocytes and platelets due to live worms as well as thrombosis, granulomatous, and villous inflammation due to dead and/or dying worms. Microfilariae appear in circulation 6 to 7 months after introduction of infective larvae. Infection and successful development of heartworm larvae in mosquitoes is dependent on mosquito feeding habits, mosquito longevity, and ambient temperatures. Heartworm infection and/or disease is confirmed or ruled out using laboratory tests, radiography, echocardiography, and/or electrocardiography. These tests may also be used to identify appropriate therapies, monitor the course of the infection or disease, and determine the success of any treatment.

HWs can be prevented. Sadly too many people fail to keep their pets on monthly HW preventative which puts their pets at risk. The American Heartworm Society conducted nationwide surveys of heartworm test results from veterinary clinics in calendar years 2001, 2004, and 2007. Results of these surveys indicated that heartworm infections now occur in areas where they were not previously recognized and some endemic areas are reporting higher numbers of heartworm-positive dogs. And as rescue groups bring in dogs from areas other than their own on a weekly/monthly basis, we are seeing the number of HW positive dogs growing for that reason also. Areas that never had HW previously, now have it in their areas, along with many other diseases we never saw before in certain areas.

In the old days, there was a daily HW medicine known by its trade name of Filarabits or DEC which was Diethylcarbamazine, very easy to use, easy to remember -- you feed your dog daily, you give him the pill daily. But for some reason, they stopped manufacturing the daily medicine and now its only monthly medicine. Personally I wish the daily were still in use, as I preferred it and liked how it worked. However, monthly is now the standard so we use the monthly medicine. ARWNY recommends INTERCEPTOR for Akitas.

Many breeders, to save costs, use the horse wormer Ivermectin. However, there can be very serious side effects of using this wormer due to the inconsistencies of giving the proper measurements needed and the fact that it was never developed for use in DOGS. Its a horse wormer, period. To be safe, use the medicine developed for dogs only -- use Interceptor.

The Akita pictured above came to us with Heartworms, her name is Sacha. She is currently being treated at Willingboro Veterinary Hospital and will be completely healthy when her treatment is completed. The Akita she came in with, Bear, also has Heartworms and also is being treated. Treatment is close to $500 per dog. You can imagine the drain on a rescue group's finances when they have to treat dogs over and over for Heartworms as they come to us. If everyone that owned a dog would simply prevent this disease -- everyone would be better off. The dogs wouldn't suffer, rescue groups wouldn't operate in the red for lack of funds due to treating HW positive rescue dogs, and if the owners keep the Akita safe, they will never have to spend so much money for treatments like this themselves. We get emails asking us to take on an Akita due to it being HW positive by owners who can't afford or aren't willing to spend the money to treat the HW -- had they just kept their Akita on the monthly HW medicine to begin with, it wouldn't be an issue!!

If money is the reason you are skipping or considering skippping your Akita's monthly HW medicines -- consider this instead: Skip that daily coffee at some speciality shop, or skip eating out & cook at home one more night every week, or stop smoking & save your cigarette money, or shop at Target or Walmart instead of department stores, or buy your clothes at TJ Maxx instead of from some designer store -- do anything to save yourself at least $40 per month so you can keep on buying monthly Heartworm medicine for your Akita -- it saves you more money all the way around in addition to keeping your Akita safe!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


This picture is from the Akita National held in KY -- these adopters attended the RESCUE PARADE that day!!! So I posted it here to get you all in the mood!!

PLEASE keep these dates in your head: SEPTEMBER 21 to the 25th 2010. Those are the dates of the Akita National to be held in Gettysburg PA --

ARWNY is very excited that this very big, very important, Akita-only show is being held so close to us here in our neck of the woods! We want ALL our Akita Adopters to participate -- we want them ALL to consider walking their Akita in the RESCUE PARADE and there will be more info coming -- the date of that parade will be the afternoon of September 24th, 2010. Once the forms are put up, I will post the exact location of the paperwork to be filled out -- no cost to be in the parade and trust me, its SUCH a wonderful thing to have everyone clapping and cheering for the story of your adopted Akita that you are walking around the ring! AND you get a rosette, ARWNY is going to have a bandana for every rescue to wear in the ring and YOU get to feel on top of the world -- where of course, you belong for being a great adopter!!

So please please --- keep those dates in mind and consider coming to the National to see ARWNY, see our great booth, participate in our great raffles & fun things we do ONLY at a National show, and to be part of the BIGGEST & BEST RESCUE PARADE EVER!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Did you miss me? Its been a while....

but here I am, back with some new thoughts and hopefully some things for you all to seriously think about!!! Hope you like this picture of our Taki -- he's in a great home in NJ and I just love this photo that Joann Dimon took of him!!

Right off the bat for my first blog since my 2nd knee surgery, I'd like to discuss something serious -- after hearing of a friend's dog (not an Akita) that died after ingesting too much chocolate, I'd like to put a list of foods NOT to allow your dog to have -- in any amounts, up here as a blog for you to have -- print it off, put it on your refrigerator! Better to be safe than sorry, eh?

Then I will do some other blogs later in the week about Akitas, about puppies, about adoption, about some things very upsetting and other things very wonderful, I promise!

So for now -- here is a list of things to AVOID to keep your canines safe:

Potentially Fatal Foods for Dogs

Grapes and Raisins. These contain an unknown substance which can cause acute renal failure in some dogs. Even a handful could cause death. Dogs have died after ingesting 0.41 to 1.1 ounces per kilogram of body weight. (1 kg = 2.2 lbs.) Early symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, followed by signs of kidney failure starting about 24 hours after ingestion, which may not be noticeable for the first 3 to 5 days. If you notice your dog ingested grapes or raisins, seek treatment immediately. It is unknown why some dogs seem not to be affected at all, while others react to a small amount and die. "Grapeseed extract" is safe for dogs, and is used in dog foods as a rich source of powerful antioxidants called proanthocyanidins.

Chocolate and Cocoa. Theobromine is a methylxanthine compound similar to caffeine, but only 25% as effective as a stimulant for humans. Both can be fatal to dogs and birds. Do not let your dog ingest types of chocolate that contain the highest levels of Theobromine, which are pure cocoa powder, baker's chocolate, and dark chocolate (in that order), since ingesting even smaller quantities may be toxic. Just two ounces of baker's chocolate can kill a small dog! Be aware that cocoa bean mulch used in gardens may get eaten by dogs, and it also contains high levels of Theobromine (300 to 1200 mg per ounce). Ingesting over 9 ounces can kill a 50 pound dog. Early symptoms of chocolate toxicity are: hyperactivity, sudden excitement or "manic" type of behavior, muscle tremors, rapid heart rate, and increased urination - similar to an overdose of caffeine in humans. If chocolate or caffeine ingestion was observed, inducing vomiting within two hours may help. Get veterinary treatment IMMEDIATELY, for ingesting a high dose can cause death within 12 hours. See more details below.

Caffeine. Ingesting caffeine raises a dog's heart rate to a dangerous level, and has been known to cause seizures, and sometimes death. Early symptoms of caffeine ingestion occur quickly and include: hyperactivity or excitement, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, and increased urination. Note that coffee beans, instant coffee powder, coffee grounds, guarano beans, tea, "energy" drinks, weight loss pills, colas and many clear and colored soft drinks contain high levels of caffeine which can affect a dog's central nervous system and heart. (Colas and soft drinks also contain way too much sugar, which could cause pancreatitis, or could contain Xylitol which is also toxic to dogs.)

Later symptoms of caffeine ingestion are: vomiting, restlessness or hyperactivity, muscle tremors, heart palpitations, and even death. Give lots of water and take your dog to the vet immediately. Note that both caffeine and nicotine are narcotic drugs which affect the brain and nervous system, and less than a drop of pure nicotine or caffeine could kill a large human or dog as quickly as a heroin overdose.

Nicotine and Tobacco. Nicotine found in cigarettes and cigars or their butts, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, nicotine patches, and nicotine gum can be fatal to dogs, cats, birds - and human babies - if they are eaten. Early symptoms of nicotine ingestion may appear within an hour, and include: hyperactivity, salivation, panting, vomiting, and diarrhea. Advanced symptoms include: rapid heart rate, muscle tremors or twitching, muscle weakness, collapse, coma, and cardiac arrest. Give lots of water and take your pet to the vet immediately.

Alcohol. When a dog ingests alcohol it can cause disorientation and lead to injury, sickness, urination problems, or even coma or death from alcohol poisoning. Just one ounce can sometimes be lethal. Alcohol is present in beer, ale, hard cider, wine, liquor, spirits, liqueurs, vodka or rum "cooler" drinks, vanilla extract, and some herbal tinctures. "Denatured" alcohol used to fuel fondue and food warmers is a deadly poison to dogs, cats and humans.

Nutmeg. This is a brownish spice often used in eggnog and mulled cider. It affects the central nervous system of dogs and may cause tremors or seizures. If larger amounts of nutmeg are ingested it can cause death (in humans too).

Raw Salmon and Trout. These two tasty fish can be infected with a parasite called Nanophyetus salmincola, a type of trematode worm which itself is often infected with a type of bacteria known as Neorickettsia helminthoeca that only affects canines, not other animals. Dogs can show symptoms such as: weakness, loss of appetite, vomiting, swollen glands, and fever - and 90% of untreated dogs die. Thorough cooking kills the both the worm and the bacteria. Note that sushi may contain raw salmon.

Raw Eggs. RAW chicken and chicken eggs can be infected with Salmonella bacteria which cause food poisoning in dogs and humans, and cats are the most susceptible. Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning include: fever, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Egg yolks are generally safe, but raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin which can deplete your dog of biotin, one of the B vitamins (though some research indicates that it would take large quantities of egg whites to cause this condition). Symptoms of biotin depletion are: weakness, hair loss, retarded growth, and deformity of the skeleton.

However, cooked eggs are safe, very nutritious, and make a fine doggie treat. Thorough cooking at a temperature above 180 degrees Fahrenheit kills Salmonella bacteria and destroys its toxin, so hard-boiled eggs make a safe and healthy dog treat.

Peanuts and Sunflower Seeds. These, and peanut butter, are not normally toxic. But the sunflower seeds or peanuts and particularly the hulls are too often contaminated with Aspergillus fungus mold that produces Aflatoxin which can cause liver damage and death for dogs, the mammal most sensitive to Aflatoxin poisoning. Field corn and wheat are also very frequent hosts for this toxic mold that is especially deadly to dogs and birds.

Levels of Aflatoxin too low to harm pigs or people can be fatal to dogs and birds, who are the MOST sensitive to it. Even the U.S. FDA "acceptable" concentration of aflatoxin contamination in peanuts fit for humans - a maximum of 20 ppb - may not protect your dog. Note that cooking can kill the fungus, but will NOT deactivate any of the poisonous aflatoxin which it may have already produced. Thus feeding sunflower seeds, peanuts or peanut hulls to a dog may seem too much of a risk for Aflatoxin Poisoning.

Moldy foods. If it's a mold like Aspergillus which produced aflatoxin it can be severely toxic or fatal to dogs.

Cooked Chicken Bones. Raw chicken bones are flexible and not usually a problem, but when cooked they get brittle and can splinter into sharp little daggers that tear your dog's throat or intestines. Some other types of cooked bones like ham, pork chop, pork ribs, and veal can also get brittle and may pose a danger to your dog. Feeding RAW, uncooked bones like chicken necks and beef knuckles are the safest choice, and may help clean plaque from your dog's teeth. Rawhide "bones" sometimes cause choking when hard pieces break off, so keep an eye on your dog while he chews them.

Corn Cobs. When swallowed in chunks can lodge in your dog's throat or intestines, with sometimes fatal results. Do NOT feed your dog corn on the cob or allow access to corn cobs. Also note that dogs cannot digest corn, and it may cause a food allergy. Corn is also a frequent host for the white fungal mold that produces aflatoxin which is deadly to dogs.

Raw Bread Dough and Bread-making Yeast. The yeast which causes bread and pizza dough to rise will ferment and expand and produce alcohol in a dog's warm stomach, which can cause alcohol poisoning, disorientation, discomfort, vomiting or unsuccessful attempts at vomiting, bloating, and even rupture of the intestines - even in small amounts, since the raw dough expands to many times its original size. Small dogs are most at risk. If a large amount was eaten or you see the stomach swells significantly - a condition called "bloat" - EMERGENCY TREATMENT is necessary. Do not waste time! Get your dog to the vet right away, because bloat can quickly cause serious problems and even lead to death. See more on "bloat" below. ("Brewers Yeast" is different than baking yeast, and is a safe nutritional supplement.)

Raw Cookie Dough or Cake Mix. The baking powder which creates carbon dioxide gas bubbles to expand the cookie or cake mix can create gas in the warm stomach and intestines of a dog which eats the unbaked mix. The expansion of the raw mixture can cause flatulence, discomfort, and bloating. Ingesting large amounts could possibly cause a rupture of the intestines, so in this case, inducing vomiting as soon as possible may help. If significant swelling of the stomach or "bloat" has occurred, take your dog for emergency treatment IMMEDIATELY!

Fruit pits. The seeds, stems, and leaves of apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears and plums all contain cyanogenic glycosides - which can produce cyanide poison when metabolized in the dog's body. While these glycosides are not harmful to humans, some have the potential to cause vomiting and loss of appetite in dogs and cats. Ingesting large amounts can cause these symptoms: dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, hyperventilation, weakness, staggering - or even shock, coma, and death. The flesh or pulp of these fruits is not toxic and can safely be fed to a dog.

Apple Seeds, Stems and Leaves. See Fruit pits above. The flesh of the apple fruit is safe, and many dogs love to eat apples. Just remove the toxic stem and pips. Keep stored apples out of reach of your dog, who may eat the whole apple with stems and seeds.

Potatoes. The starchy white flesh inside raw or cooked potatoes is not harmful, but potato skins which are still green and any green sprouts or "eyes" contain the alkaloid solanum which is poisonous to dogs and humans. You should store raw potatoes out of reach of your dog, for they often grow little green sprouts which are toxic if the dog eats them. And don't let your dog get at potato peelings from the garbage bin.

Avocado. The fruit, leaves, and bark contain a toxic compound called persin - especially in the skins - which can damage the heart, lung and other tissues of a dog. If larger quantities are ingested, the high fat content of avocado fruit can trigger vomiting or even lead to pancreatitis, so keep your dog away from guacamole dip made from avocado. Symptoms of avocado ingestion include: difficulty breathing, enlarged abdomen, and abnormal fluid accumulations in the chest and abdomen and around the heart. The hard pit inside is also toxic, and can cause choking or intestinal blockage if swallowed.

Mushrooms. The mushrooms normally eaten by humans are safe, but feeding mushrooms to your dog might encourage your pet to eat wild mushrooms which may be poisonous enough to cause sickness or even death. If your dog goes outside, you should remove all wild mushrooms in your yard, and don't let him eat any mushrooms he may encounter while on a walk or hike with you.

Milk & Dairy Products. About 50% of dogs, like some humans, are lactose intolerant, i.e. unable to digest Lactose, which is also called "milk sugar". Their bodies do not produce the enzyme lactase which can break down lactose. This can cause stomach cramps, gas, foul smelling excrement, and diarrhea. Cheese, cottage cheese, and plain yogurt (with no sugar added) contain less lactose, so most dogs can tolerate small amounts of these dairy foods which many dogs love as a treat. Note that cow milk is quite often contaminated with aflatoxin produced by Aspergillus mold, but at very low levels considered safe for humans. Yet that level may be unsafe for canines, who are MUCH more sensitive to this poison than any other mammals.

Onions and Garlic. In dogs, cats and other mammals, ingesting large quantities at once or the continual consumption of raw onions, garlic, chives and leeks (members of the Allium family) which contain thiosulphate, can cause red blood cells to rupture and result in Heinz-Body Hemolytic Anemia. Ingesting 2.5 grams of dehydrated onions per pound of body weight causes hemolysis and anemia in dogs, especially in Akitas and Japanese Simbas. Small puppies have died of hemolytic anemia after being fed human baby food containing onion powder, and it can make kittens sick. Garlic has a lesser effect than onions, and only larger amounts of garlic cause problems. To stop eating onions and garlic can reverse the anemia.

Baby Food. Do not feed human baby food to puppies, especially if the formula contains onion powder or certain vegetables in this list. Refer to "Onions and Garlic" above.

Broccoli. This vegetable is nutritious for dogs in small amounts, but if the amount exceeds about ten percent of their daily food intake the substance isothiocyanate can cause gastrointestinal irritation.

Tomatoes and Rhubarb. The stems and leaves contain oxalates, which can cause bladder stones.

Xylitol. This natural-source sweetener is often used in sugar-free candy and gum. Eating large amounts can cause a drop in blood sugar for dogs - but not humans - which can lead to weakness, staggering, and other symptoms of hypoglycemia). A sudden drop in blood sugar could result in loss of coordination and seizures, sometimes less than 30 minutes after your dog ingests enough Xylitol.

Macadamia Nuts. Eating as little as six nuts can cause elevated body temperature, accelerated heartbeat, anxiety, weakness, muscle tremors, and paralysis of the hindquarters of a dog, which usually ends in a few days. The cause is not known.

Walnuts. Eating walnuts can cause gastroenteritis in dogs

All tree nuts. These nuts contain high levels of phosphorus which can lead to the formation of bladder stones in dogs. Tree nuts like Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts sold for human consumption are often contaminated with very low levels of poisonous aflatoxin from Aspergillus mold which the U.S. FDA considers safe for humans. Yet that same low concentration may be toxic to dogs and birds, which are the animals MOST sensitive to this poison.

Turkey Skin or Ham Fat. Any high-fat meal can cause acute pancreatitis in dogs that have a fixed diet like commercial dog food and are not used to high-fat foods like these. Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting and pain in stomach. Emergency treatment is needed.

Liver. Eating this animal organ is safe and nutritious in small amounts. But it contains high levels of Vitamin A, and ingesting large amounts or feeding liver to a dog already receiving Vitamin A supplements can lead to Vitamin A toxicity (hypervitaminosis A). Feeding your dog three servings of raw or cooked liver a week could lead to bone problems. Symptoms of hypervitaminosis A are: weight loss, anorexia, deformed bones, and excessive bone growth on the hocks and spine. If untreated, hypervitaminosis A can result in death.

Deli Meats. Processed and smoked meats such as sausages, pastrami, prosciutto, pancetta, pepperoni, bacon, and various "cold cuts" contain high levels of sodium and nitrates which may cause kidney and digestive problems in dogs.

Tuna fish. Canned or cooked tuna which has been deboned is a nutritious food and a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, but much of the tuna caught in the ocean is now contaminated with unhealthy levels of Mercury. A steady diet of tuna can lead to a build-up of Mercury, which is toxic to dogs and cats and humans. Albacore or "white" tuna contains the highest levels of mercury, as do shark, swordfish, and king mackerel. Lower levels are found in the "light" type of tuna fish, so avoid "white" and choose "light". Tilapia and salmon are fish with low levels of mercury, but uncooked salmon can be toxic to dogs (see "Raw Salmon" above).

Carrots. Many dogs love this vegetable as a healthy treat that also helps clean a dog's teeth. But be aware that carrots absorb more pesticides from the ground than all other vegetables, which is why farmers often plant a carrot crop to remove excessive pesticide build-up in the soil. It would be safer to feed your dog (and yourself) organic carrots grown on farms which use no pesticides at all.

More on Chocolate... Compared to cocoa or dark chocolate, milk chocolate contains much less Theobromine - which is similar to Caffeine but only about 25% as potent as a stimulant. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate actually provide many health benefits to humans, but Theobromine can cause cardiac arrest in dogs since they simply lack the enzymes necessary to metabolize quantities of Theobromine in excess of 100 to 150 mg per kilogram of the dog's body weight. It can also cause pancreatitis.

So you should avoid feeding your dog cocoa powder, bakers chocolate, or chocolate candies, or leaving them where your dog might find them and eat a large quantity. Ingesting sufficient amounts of chocolate can be fatal to a dog. Occasionally sharing a SMALL quantity of MILK chocolate (like a few "M&M" candies) as a treat is not likely to harm your dog, but the smaller the dog, the less chocolate it would take to kill your dog. And feeding chocolate will condition your dog to seek and eat chocolate. "White chocolate" contains little real chocolate or Theobromine, for it is made from cocoa butter, but it is very high in fats and refined sugar. Remember to avoid using cocoa bean mulch for landscaping or gardening, because your dog may be attracted to the taste and ingest a potentially dangerous dose of Theobromine.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rescue knows no boundaries..

luckily, so that when we have a situation in Minnesota needing our help, we have the volunteers who say "just tell me when to get on the plane to help". And we have people willing to donate miles to defray the cost of the plane trip. And we have rescue people in that part of the world willing to help with saving the life of a special little boy!!! Its what makes doing rescue with ARWNY so wonderful -- we have such a devoted group of people willing to help in almost every way possible -- without them, we couldn't do all we do here to help the Akitas in need!!

It started out by ARWNY being contacted by a "breeder" about a puppy she bred that she stated was deaf and blind. Carla Boyd contacted her back immediately asking for more info. Carla, who is very involved with the blind dog organizations since she owns a blind Akita, Pawlee, wanted very much to help this pup who was only 5 weeks old when we were contacted. Seems others closer to her were not wanting to save a deaf and blind puppy; but while we knew this would be a challenge, Carla felt she was up to the task.

Then the "breeder" (btw, I use the term breeder VERY distastefully because she is obviously NOT an ethical nor educated breeder by any standard) writes back that she had already dumped this little guy on a sanctuary, in MN because she no longer wanted to deal with him.

The wonderful lady that runs the Sanctuary, DJ Rotter, was happy to care for this little boy, naming him Polaris and taking him immediately to her vet for consultation. It was found he was starved, dehydrated & probably has cerebellar hypoplasia but most likely only partially deaf and not blind!! Now, I still wonder how anyone that is breeding dogs cannot know a puppy in their care was starving, not feeding correctly nor getting hydrated carefully enough? That alone makes me sick -- but her continued correspondence with Carla in which she calls herself a good breeder who does NOT intend to stop breeding nor feels there is anything wrong with her breeding program is the worst part -- she will continue doing breedings and we wonder how many other poor puppies will suffer in this way?

Anyway -- it all has a happy ending for this one puppy -- Polaris will be coming to us here at ARWNY as soon as our volunteer Deb Karfs flies out to bring him back to ARWNY -- if he has any neurological issues as he grows a bit, we can work on them through our army of wonderful vets, trainers and behaviorists. We have a geat home lined up for him already with lots of Akita experience to foster him, our wonderful Heather & her new hubby Julius along with big sister Tasu. So with Carla's help & experience with this disease and Heather's wonderful care, this pup will be in fine hands!! Once he is here and thriving, I will post more including updated pictures of the little guy!!

*****NOTE**** I may be off line for about a week, due to having my right knee replaced on 2/19/10 but will post more about this baby as we get to know him better!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Its freezing cold in many places in the USA today. Has been for weeks. Below 32 degrees most nites, with snow and or freezing rain covering the ground. So can you imagine yourself sleeping outside, without any shelter, a huge chain connecting you to a wall or a tree stump, nowhere to get out of the cold wind, rain or snow?

Well that's the fate of many dogs out there today. Not just Akitas -- but many breeds -- breeds whose coats cannot handle the cold weather as our Akitas often can. Dogs should not live on chains. Dogs should be inside with their families, being loved and cared for as the family members they are meant to be.

Dogs on chains suffer in many ways -- not just physically but mentally too. Dogs on chains have no socialization, no chance to know love and kindness. Dogs on chains become frustrated, territorial and fearful.

Here is a link to a very sad situation that could have been avoided had this dog not been on a chain:

Speak up if you know of a dog living on the end of a chain -- call your local shelter, leave a note in the owner's mailbox. Call Tammy at and find out what you can do to help or ask her for help with a certain situation.

By not doing anything, it makes you as bad as the owner in a smaller way -- by turning our backs on a situation like this, it lessens our humanity. Please please speak up -- and always make chained dogs a priorty when voting for upcoming legislation because the right politicians can make a difference in getting laws upheld, changed and updated to prevent this kind of animal abuse.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

When those special, wonderful great adopters come along, they work miracles! Spirit (on right side above) sat in rescue with ARWNY at his foster Mom's place (bless you Greta!) for a year. He was a "real" Akita, and he was a long coat -- not so much demand for either one -- everyone today wants those "Labs in Akita coats" pretending to be REAL Akitas but actually more like silly Labs than Akitas, looking like Akitas but acting pretty much anything but. Yeah, we all want easy, right? Luckily, not everyone because Spirit got VERY lucky the day Linda did some checking on the internet to find just the right male Akita for her home -- he had to be a REAL Akita and he had to be a LONG COAT!! Well Linda spent months making sure Spirit was the right boy for her thru ARWNY, and after a home check, reference checks & her visit to PA to be sure all the way from her home in CA, Spirit knew he had found a home. Read this wonderful email from Linda -- she has made 2010 a better year already for me!!
Hi -

Just wanted to let you know that Spirit (new name 'Tenjin', which is the Japanese translation for the word 'spirit') is doing just great in his new home with me in the San Francisco area!

He has adjusted very well, and now has adapted to 'house rules' and a routine - he is such a smart dog! It is very evident that Tenjin was raised well by his previous owner, and continued to do well under Greta's care over the last year. Tenjin is now accomplished in all of the basic obedience commands (he still needs work on his 'stay' command, but we're working on that). We walk twice a day, with long hikes on the weekends. He loves meeting new people - and everyone praises him on how handsome he is!

Tenjin gets along very well with my female Akita (Yoshi). By the end of the 2nd week, the two of them no longer needed to be separated and now play together all the time. Yoshi has accepted him fully, and is very helpful to me in teaching Tenjin, as he copies her every move (he is sooo smart!).

I could not have asked for a better addition to my family - Tenjin has indeed found his forever home with me. Thanks to you both for taking such great care of Tenjin over the last year and for not giving up on him - he is a pleasure (he is the sweetest boy - but fierce when he needs to be!).

Here are a few pics of Tenjin in his new home with me and Yoshi - enjoy!

Best regards,

Thank you Linda -- for giving this special boy a warm place in your heart forever!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

This is a picture of an Akita with a disease known as VKH-like Syndrome or UDS. Uveodermatoglogical Syndrome (UDS) is an immune-mediated canine disease characterized by inflammation of the eye, depigmentation of skin and whitening of hair. Morbidity is related primarily to the eye inflammation, which can result in secondary ophthalmologicl disorders that lead to blindness.

UDS is similar to the human Vogt-Koyanagi-Haradi Syndrome, (VKH) which is characterized by uveitis (inflammation of the eye), poliosis (whitening of hair), vitiligo (depigmentation of skin) and a variety of neurological symptoms. Unlike VKH, however, UDS does not normally present with neurological symptoms. This disease is known to be more common in Northern Breeds such as Akias, Sibes and Samoyeds.

Because the eye disease has the serious outcome of blindness in most cases and the skin disease is secondary (but serious also), focus is usually on the eye disease. As with other autoimmune diseases, the primary goal of therapy is to suppress the body's immune response with large (potentially dangerous) doses of systemic glucocorticosteriods such as prednisone. To prevent blindness, on-going immune suppression is needed and more potent drugs like Cytoxan, Azathioprine or Imuran are used if steroids fail. Continued topical treatment is also needed, usually with steroid-containing eye drops or steroid injections. Controlling eye pain may also be required. In cases where vitiligo has occurred, protecting the affected areas of skin with sunblocks may be needed to prevent the sunburn and squamous cell carcinoma that may follow.

Prognosis is poor overall. Even vigorous therapy may not control the situation. The biggest worry is the damage to the body that the treatment may cause. We in Akitas already know the dangers of overuse of prednisone and its dangers to our breed's temperament in addition to the dangers it poses to the Akita's body. In addition, UDS Akitas suffer as a result of this disease with infections on their skin, in their eyes, etc. Is it fair to allow them to suffer just to keep them alive for our own desire?

This poor Akita above came to ARWNY in this horrid condition, suffering from it his whole life. His sire had it and yet was used in a breeding program. Then his son, this poor boy above, followed suit -- being bred despite this pain, this suffering he was living with. Any puppies he has produced are now all at risk for this horrid disease.

Please recognize diseases like this before allowing them to get to this point -- because no dog deserves to suffer as this poor Akita has his whole short life -- with interdigital cysts that were infected and oozing pus, with skin infections throughout his chest and entire head, with blindness, with inflammation of his eyes causing him severe pain. Please do NOT breed affected Akitas carrying diseases like this and if you know of Akitas being bred that do carry diseases like this, please please be brave enough to report them to the Akita Club of America or to any local Akita Club or Dog Club that the "breeder" may belong to, or at the very least, try to convince the "breeder" to not continue the breeding program. The future of our breed depends on healthy Akitas with good temperaments being the ones bred; and anyone that owns one, breeds one, shows one or knows of one is equally needed to do the right thing for the future of Akitas.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Transporting / Stealing

I want to discuss transporting a dog for rescue here. With the advent of the social networking on the internet, many new people are coming out of the woodwork offering to help with both transporting dogs and fostering dogs. Big problem -- they don't get it, don't understand what we do in rescue, why we do it and how it has to be done. They read about rescue, they suddenly are sure they want to help and then cause big heartaches and headaches for rescues when they pull some stupid stunt.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about: Recently a rescue in New England asked for help in transporting a small dog from a shelter to a foster home they had all lined up. A person jumped up on the internet & said "Yes, I'll do it." This person had transported for another rescue before, so was deemed reliable and trustworthy. What happened was this -- the transporter got to the shelter to pick up the small dog, decided on the way to the foster home that she "might know someone that wanted this dog" and just took the dog home with her. KEPT IT. Won't return the calls from the rescue, refuses to turn over the dog she kept.

Now, there are legal issues here to be considered. First, shelters that release a dog to a rescue do so on legal contracts, stating the RESCUE is now the legal owner of said dog. If the tranporter insteads KEEPS the dog, then they are, by all legal standards, guilty of stealing the dog. No different than if they broke into the rescue's own home, stole the dog from the living room and kept it. STEALING is stealing. IF this dog now bites someone, or runs away & shows up at a shelter (microchipped) or gets into a fight with another dog, the rescue is liable. Yet the rescue doesn't even have the dog. The transporter does.

Rescues don't have tons of money to spend to file lawsuits to get the dog back -- which is what people like this count on.

No rescue goes out on the street to drag people in to volunteer with them -- people offer their help, want to volunteer, come to the rescue and say "Hey, let us help you!"
And rescues are happy for the help -- many rescues out there even pay for costs incurred like gas, tolls and even lunches for transporters. All the paperwork is decided on, set up & legally taken care of, between the rescue and the shelter ahead of time. The transporter simply shows up at the shelter at a designated time, picks up the paperwork and the dog and leaves for the foster home.

So now I'm wondering -- why do people offer to help then cause more issues like this? Why does someone think they have the right to steal a dog from a rescue and keep it or rehome it themselves? Why bother to offer help at all if instead you do nothing but cause serious issues?

The legal issues here just astound me -- I guess I just don't understand why someone would think its ok to steal a dog -- anyone's dog but especially a rescue dog owned by the rescue?? Sadly this isn't even the first time I've heard this -- I've heard stories of people doing it before but now its hitting close to home. And another case happened just last week with someone else in rescue who's rescue dog was kept by the transporter. WRONG, its WRONG to do this.

Have things gotten so out of whack in this world that this is considered by anyone to be an "ok" thing to do??

It is hard enough to do rescue correctly when it all works well and runs smoothly. But to have to deal with this just isn't right. I sincerely hope the dogs in these situations end up in the right hands and that these people STOP thinking they know so much more than the rescues do and STOP thinking its ok to steal a rescue's dog. And I hope that the rescues pursue this, and publicize the people who do these kinds of things.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Its been raining....

Akitas that is. Suddenly out of nowhere, Akitas in groups are showing up in need -- where are all these original breeders and why are so many Akitas showing up in need? Where is the culpability -- with the owners or the original breeders? Who is to blame for all these Akitas in need?

We were notified of Winter & Lovey when their owner supposedly was moving -- do I sound skeptical? -- and couldn't take care of them anymore. Its doubtful they were ever being taken care of, considering they both are now being treated for Heartworm disease & Lyme disease, in addition to poor Winter's bad arthritis and ear infections. Both are with ARWNY now, at "Chez Dimon" and doing well despite their ages. The owner, when asked, couldn't remember where he got them or who their breeder was. Seems convenient to be that forgetful... ???

Then we were contacted by the Cumberland County SPCA about 2 Akitas, a male and female in need of rescue. After contacting the shelter, we found out there were several other Akitas also confiscated from this "owner" and brought to the shelter that had to be euthanized due to temperament issues. These 2 are the only ones that had good temperaments and deemed safe to be rescued. Joann Dimon, our volunteer extraordinaire, is evaluating them tomorrow so we can see if they will be rehomeable -- then they will come to us in rescue. Where did they come from to begin with and who sold this disreputable person these Akitas to breed & treat so badly?

Now, 3 more Akitas from an "owner" have been surrendered -- this time up in Bergen County SPCA. Katie, who is 6, is a lovely fawn Akita who is reported to be very sweet. Kathy is a 4 yr old dark female who is a bit shy. Maximus is a 1.5 yr old male Akita who is also reported to be sweet if somewhat confused. This "owner" surrendered them due to moving again. Once again, who sold a person like this these Akitas to begin with? And why aren't they keeping in touch with their puppy buyers? Oh, I guess once they have money in hand, there is no need to care about the welfare of the lives they bought into the world. As for owners -- everyone is moving, it seems. And no one wants to take their Akitas with them.

Most likely - the truth is that the bottom has dropped out of the Akita puppy market and selling puppies is no longer the cash-cow it once was. So people are now dumping these Akitas rather than feeding them. They certainly weren't bothering to vet them, socialize them, or care for them either. But what about the original owners -- why isn't anyone caring enough to follow up on the Akitas they brought into the world? Is it that hard to do a once a year follow up? I think not -- if RESCUE can do it, so can breeders.

Then there were 2 sisters turned into a shelter in MD -- one was adopted but the 2nd one, Princess, that is coming to ARWNY, has possible juvenile cataracts coupled with another health issue called nystagmus. Their "owner" I suspect was also their breeder -- unable to sell the last two from a litter, they grew up together and were terrified at the shelter. Obviously no health checks were done on the parents and of course, the owner is not being held liable for anything since he surrendered both girls. And these are only a few of the many doubles, triples and more that are showing up all over the country in shelters. Rescue is overwhelmed, underfunded, and just simply tired of trying to do other people's jobs - mainly taking care of Akitas bred by those who should be held accountable.

Then add to that -- all the single Akitas we see daily in shelters. Akitas with no history we can trace, no way to prove where they came from, no info on the intake forms - just "moving" or "no longer can afford" or some such nonsense.

Just today, a show breeder's Akita (who was confiscated from the home the Akita was sold to several years ago), was all over the news when he got loose from the person trying to transport him to get him to a rescue facility. The big question should be: why wasn't the show breeder picking up this Akita - yes the show breeder was aware, yes the show breeder could have been the one to rescue this Akita, yes the show breeder had offers of help to get the Akita to her state; but eventually she just ignored the situation & others had to step in to save this Akita from being unfairly put to sleep. What is happening when even the supposed "good guys" aren't helping our breed?

Its so sad what is happening to our noble breed.

I've long been known to lay the blame for Akitas in rescue on the shoulders of the owners who let these Akitas down, who did not do their research, who did not care enough to continue to love them until their time came. But lately, I've been getting increasingly disgusted with the attitudes of these "breeders" who just shrug off any responsibility, as if bringing these puppies into the world was enough, they didn't have to do anything more. Well sorry folks, but yes you do -- from "womb to tomb" as the saying goes. The good breeders knock themselves out to stand by their puppies, then the lackadaisical breeders bring on the bad headlines, which then lumps them all together linking them by that one word: BREEDER.

Again -- this breed has given so much to those that own them, yet where is the loyalty from the humans in return whether from those that bred them or those that owned them? Its sadly lacking and appearing to be disappearing altogether....