Thursday, June 28, 2012

Saving Thor (Updated: 07/01/12)

****Thor has been saved!!****

First, thank you all for the donations, Facebook shares, and efforts to find Thor's owners. No one ever claimed our sweet boy, but we think he was most likely stray for a while and his family gave up their search. Also, if he was taken and used for fighting, he could have come from anywhere. We all tried our best for a reunion, but it didn't happen.

With that being said, we are thrilled to announce that Thor has a new forever home. And the best part? We get to visit him! He is now in a warm, loving home with friends. He has two boys to play with, pet-parents to jog with, and fluffy beds to sleep in. He has been neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped, and hugged... I'm sure he's been hugged a lot.

We visited him today and he looked like a new dog. He knows he's safe, and you can see the gratitude in his eyes. Some people say that dogs don't have emotions, but I don't believe that. Looking into Thor's eyes, it's like he is saying thank you. We can only guess at what he has been through in his short life, but we know what his life is like now... as does he. And he thanks everyone, from the bottom of his doggie heart, for helping him find his save haven, and new life.

Original Post Below:

Who let the dogs out? No, really... Who? Because we keep finding them, and it's becoming a problem.

One of the big differences between TX and NJ, is the amount of loose and stray dogs. We see them everywhere. Some are pets with collars and tags, and others have no visible identification whatsoever. We always see Lost/Found dog signs, and the shelters are overflowing. It makes me angry and breaks my heart at the same time.

As sick as I am of our neighbor's chihuahua crapping on our lawn everyday, I want to cry for every pup I see walking around looking lost. Did the dog get loose accidentally? Does the person just not care that their dog roams... like our neighbor with the chihuahua? Did someone dump the dog because they can't care for it anymore? Or is it something more sinister?

I have returned dogs home if they had tags. I have kept my distance from those who seemed vicious. I have caught dogs that ran away from their people because they thought it was a super-fun game. I have simply let a dog keep trotting in the direction it's going, for lack of any better solution.

This time though, we didn't find a stray... He found us.

Every weekend we have "Mutual Home Improvement Sunday" with our only friends. Although, to say friends isn't right... we've become family. For the past couple of months we've been working at their house on their yard and pool. Edit: J will get mad at me for saying we have been working... the men work, Tammy and I supervise. From the jacuzzi. With drinks. It's a good time.

Anyway, this past Sunday J went over early, while I stayed home to put together a big dish of baked ziti for everyone. Halfway through the ziti, I get a text from J. He said that they found a stray dog that was friendly, but injured from a fight. They didn't know what to do with him, so J asked if I'd run over to Petco and ask the people who run the adoptions there if they could let me know who to call. I washed the mozzarella off of my hands and headed over.

I was told at Petco that the Houston SPCA has a 24-hour ambulance service for injured strays. If you've ever seen the show Animal Cops, that's the Houston SPCA. They are amazing people. So is the woman who runs the adoptions at our local Petco. She cares for dozens of dogs on her own, and she is there every weekend helping the pups find homes. Good people do still exist.

I thanked her profusely for her help, went home and finished the ziti, and headed over to our friend's house to call the SPCA for a pick up. I got out of the car and asked J to show me the dog. He said the pup was in the garage sleeping, like he hadn't slept in weeks. Then I saw him...

This is Thor. As soon as I found out that he had been given a name, I knew I wouldn't be calling the SPCA. As I walked over to him in the garage, he got up, gave his tail a few wags, and came over for a pat on the head. He was clearly exhausted and injured, but he still just wanted some lovin'

He had a very large bite wound on his tummy from being in the losing end of a fight. Upon closer inspection, we found cuts all over him in various stages of healing. We could see his ribs, but he wasn't emaciated. He looked well-developed, and had a gorgeous set of teeth. We guessed he was somewhere around 1-3 years old, and that he was a pit bull lab mix. We thoroughly analyzed everything about him... but still didn't know what to do with him.

We couldn't bear the thought of sending him to a shelter and risk eventual euthanization. Being part pit bull doesn't put him ahead of the game in terms of adoptability, regardless of his demeanor. So there he stayed. In the garage, with a fan, a bed, food, water, and me. I just sat watching him sleep for a good hour or so. He would twitch his little toes and wag his tail when he was dreaming. At least the poor dog had happiness at some point in his life, even if it was just when he was asleep.

After a while, I brought him a treat. To my surprise, he sat on command. I thought it was a fluke, but he did it a second time. Later, we learned that he was trained. A bowl of food was given to him and he was told to sit and wait. As hungry as he was, he sat still until he was given the "okay." He was extremely non-food aggressive, and let the bowl be taken away and a hand put into his food while he was eating. Not even so much as a growl came from him. He would probably let you take food from him mouth, but we weren't going to tease the poor boy.

We eventually brought him into the backyard and he laid in the grass and played fetch like it was the happiest day of his life. He took lots of breaks to nap in the garage, but like I said, he was exhausted. He was more calm, and better behaved than our 2 dogs and our friend's 3 dogs combined. It was fitting that he was all white because he was like an angel. A lost soul, just looking for love. He stayed in our friend's garage that night, while we all tried to come up with a plan.

Unfortunately, it is now 4 days later and Thor's fate is still unknown. On Monday we brought him to our vet's office for a microchip scan. I figured there was only a slim chance that he'd be chipped, and unfortunately my hunch was correct. No chip. While there, the doctor gave him a quick checkup and prescribed some antibiotics for the wound on his tummy.

The saddest part about our visit was what we learned about his (most likely) past experiences. He is trained, so we believe that he was someone's pet. We were told that he probably got lost, and was then picked up by someone else because they thought he was a pit bull. We discovered that the sound of a chain terrifies him, so he was probably used as a bait dog for fights. I won't go into detail about the relation between chains and dog fighting, because no one needs to hear about that atrocity here. When he wouldn't fight back, he was dumped and left to either fend for himself or die.

Our vet guessed that Thor was, at the very most, 3 years old. Surprisingly, he is only about 10 pounds underweight. He agreed with our thoughts on his breed, and said that he is more lab than pit bull... he just has a pit bull shaped head. We didn't have any blood work done, and he is very obviously un-neutered, but the doctor said that it would be okay to let Thor interact with our own [vaccinated] dogs.

So, on Tuesday evening, we tried to do just that. It's been well into the 100's here in Houston, and our friends haven't been able to keep Thor outside. Their own pit bull isn't very dog-friendly, so its been a lot of work to keep all of the dogs separated and cool. We decided to see how Thor and Ranger would get along over at our house. We knew Scout wouldn't be an issue because... well... he's an old corgi that just wants to spend his days sleeping. But Ranger, now he posed a problem.

Ranger is our 1-year old German Shepherd. He isn't neutered yet, but that's getting taken care of next week. He is very much a puppy, but has been acting rather "manly" lately. We had no idea how he would handle another dog, but we quickly found out that the answer to that was, "Not well. Not well at all."

After lots of barking, and knocking each other around, we decided that we couldn't keep Thor at our house. Two un-neutered males, regardless if one was dominant and one submissive, were not going to get along. Perhaps we went about introducing them the wrong way. Maybe they should've met on neutral ground instead of in our backyard. Maybe Ranger is just a jerk. Who knows, but either way, they weren't going to be BFF's.

So off Thor went, back to our friend's house. On their way home they did stop at friend's house who is involved with rescues and has a few pit bulls of her own. They introduced Thor to one of her pups, and even to a kitten... no problem at all! Clearly, the issue at our house was from our own dog, and not Thor. Which is great news in terms of finding him a home.

Now that brings us to our current situation. Thor needs a home, and he needs one ASAP. However, he also needs a thorough vet checkup, heartworm test, vaccinations, and neutering. We have 2 dogs, our friends have 3, and now we all have Thor. If we had the funds, we would gladly get all of Thor's issues taken care of right now and put him right up for adoption. The problem is, we can't afford his care.

Asking someone to take on Thor as their pet, or even a foster, is a large financial responsibility considering that he is ultimately a stray. None of us are the type of people who go begging for handouts, but we openly admit that we need help to keep Thor safe, healthy, and out of a shelter.

Our main problem right now is finding him a place to stay. So first and foremost we absolutely need a foster home for this sweet baby. He is trained, housebroken, calm, gentle, and gets along with adults, kids, dogs, and cats. He is an angel with some broken wings, and just needs a place to lay his head. If you, or someone you know can foster him, please email me right away.

In terms of his care, we can't in good conscience leave him with a foster family knowing the kinds of vet bills that his care will incur. If you have anything to spare to help us properly care for this boy, you can donate through the link at the bottom of this post.

None of this money will be used for any of ours other dogs, or for anything other than Thor's care: vet bills, food, and meds. If he gets fostered, we will continue to use these funds for Thor so as not to burden his foster family. If you are local and have doggy items that you can donate in lieu of money, please email me and let me know.

We want nothing but the best for Thor. He is a sweet dog, who was dealt a bad hand in life. Under no circumstances will we let this dog be euthanized, but we need help. A foster home and funding are needed to save our boy. He will gladly repay with as much love as he can give, and we will all be forever grateful.

We are not expecting much from anyone, we know that money is tight. However, if through some miracle we receive more funding than needed for Thor, all extra will be given to the Houston SPCA to help care for their sheltered animals. We are true animal lovers, and no penny will be wasted.

Donations are closed: Thank you all so much for your generosity!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Coconut Rice Pudding Cups

I'm a Pinterest addict. I pin hundreds of things that I love, but that's as far as it gets. If you don't believe me, check out my boards. Sure, I've made a few things here and there, but most stuff just sits in the vastness of cyberspace. I'll occasionally look through it and think, "Why the heck haven't I tried this yet?" Well, I'm trying to turn over a new leaf... in terms of Pinterest and life in general... but that's a whole other post.

Anyway, I found recipes for Coconut Rice Pudding and Simple Nutella Cookies. I tweaked each of them a bit as I went along, and they came out quite good! The cookie edges got a little over-baked, but it was my first time making cookie bowls so I'll let that slide. The rice pudding is heavenly, and the perfect blend of coconut and sweetness. It's definitely not overbearing at all. Feel free to try, share, pin, and enjoy!

Here is a quick preview of everything that you'll need:

Coconut Rice Pudding


    1 cup uncooked rice (do not use Minute Rice)
    1 1/2 cups coconut milk
    2 cups whole or 2% milk
    1/3 cup white sugar
    1 tbsp vanilla extract
    pinch of salt


    Prepare rice according to package directions.
    Combine cooked rice and all other ingredients in a medium saucepan.
    Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 40 minutes
    Place in bowl, cover, and chill.

Simple Nutella Cookie Bowls


    1 cup Nutella
    1/3 cup white sugar
    1 cup flour
    1 egg
    pinch of salt


    Preheat oven to 350
    In large bowl, knead all ingredients together thoroughly
    Turn cupcake pan upside down
    Cover each cupcake-well with layer of cookie dough
    Bake 8-10 minutes
    Cool on pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack

Once pudding and cookie bowls are cooled, place a scoop of pudding into each bowl. Top with cinnamon if desired.