Monday, November 21, 2011

One Tough Bitch & Her Lucky Pack

It's been an incredible journey. Sadie nearly died 6½ months ago after she was bitten by not one but two rattlesnakes in the same day. Each morning I awake to Sadie having stolen my covers is another day to give thanks for a miracle. This dog is incredible. She is, as a good friend remarked, "One tough bitch." She is also a beautiful, affectionate and tenacious companion that defies stereotypes and beats the odds.

Her story has been featured in The American Dog Magazine as well as on DogCast Radio in two installments: Part 1 and Part 2. As a result, she's accumula
ted an impressive Facebook and Twitter fan base.

Should you find yourself similarly moved by Sadie's remarkable and death-defying story and/or touched by the actions of her alpha female and male, we welcome your friendship and support.

Additionally, we are thankful to all who have already donated toward our veterinary-bill debt. If you are willing and able, we thank you in advance for chipping in via PayPal at this link. We also have a fabulous collection of Sadie-inspired gifts on sale at the Smiles for Sadie CafePress store.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Sloppy Sadie kisses to all!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reflections on an Incredible Journey

Sadie snores blissfully, nestled between her alphas in our bed as I write tonight. It's four months into the journey that started with tragedy, led me to create Smiles for Sadie Facebook Fan Page to maintain sanity during one of the most difficult weeks of our pack's collective life and ultimately morphed into something so much more meaningful.

Smiles for Sadie is more than a vanity project to showcase cute photos of our beautiful dog. This multimedia project is a tribute to a miracle and our goal to promote rattlesnake awareness for pet owners.

Friends, family, colleagues, neighbors and strangers worldwide have provided shoulders, prayers and dollars of support. Additionally, Sadie's incredible story has garnered unsolicited media attention.

In the wake of last month's feature in American Dog Magazine, I was delighted to this week hear the resulting podcast of an interview I had done with DogCast Radio a couple months back.

Julie Hill in England (!) discovered Sadie's tale on Facebook and invited me to Skype in for an interview on DogCast, which she's spread over two shows.

Part 1 aired this week and is available for download or streaming at and iTunes. I am truly honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to run my mouth for Sadie and rattlesnake awareness. I hope our story serves as an important warning to everyone who enjoys the Great Outdoors with their pets.

Additionally, I hope Sadie Dog and we inspire and educate others who find themselves in similarly frightening and tragic situations. For this purpose, I continue to collect and display rattlesnake-awareness resources for dog owners. Thanks, Julie, and everyone for your continued interest and support!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Making Dogs Rattlesnake Smart

One of the first things we did after Sadie's near-fatal double-rattlesnake encounter was sign her up for rattlesnake-aversion training with Ma 'n Paw Kennel Canine Training. Here's a resource for Arizona-based dog owners.

The Payson Roundup / Making dogs rattlesnake smart

Roger May of Mayday Retrievers in Oxbow Estates presented a program by Jay Smith on rattlesnake avoidance training this weekend. It is something he tries to do once a year, he said.

Smith operates Community Dog Training in Oracle, north of Tucson and is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, which can be found at www.

Smith developed his snake avoidance training by studying a learning theory called Operant Conditioning.

He explains, “This learning theory simply says: Anything that immediately follows a behavior will increase or decrease the chances of whether that behavior will be repeated."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Ant Posion

We caught Sadie gnawing at a Raid Ant Bait this morning. First thought: another ER visit? I Googled the issue and apparently dogs quite frequently find and eat these sugary traps.

This article from eHow, "What to Do If a Dog Eats Ant Killer" allayed my fears.

"A quick response may save your pet's life, but depending on the chemical involved, home remedies may be all you need," explains writer Mary Earhart.

Her advice? Read the label. Avermectin is one of the more common and least threatening to your dog's health when ingested in small amounts. Avermectin accounts for just 0.01% of the contents of the sugar-laden bait Sadie had in her mouth. And avermectin is not all bad: It is an active ingredient in Heartgard to treat heartworms in dogs. So, it seems the situation is not critical.

Just to be sure, I phoned Sadie's vet. Sadie weighs 60 pounds and had not actually eaten the trap. She chewed it like a toy. The fact she had not swallowed the trap whole is yet another reason not to worry too much, he explained. His advice? Keep an eye on her and watch for lethargy and any foaming at the mouth. If that happens, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, which is best suited for walking pet owners through necessary steps to diagnosing and troubleshooting poisoning. Here is the number (note: there is a $65 fee, but it's cheaper than an ER visit): 888-426-4425

We'll have to do a better job of hiding these traps. Or find a dog-friendlier alternative.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Smiles for Sadie Benefit Shirts

Buy a one-of-a-kind T-shirt, hoodie, tank top or apron and honor an exceptional dog! Artist Erik Morris created this inspiring image in Sadie Dog's likeness to help us pay off the extra $10K remaining of Sadie's $15,000 veterinary bill debt via Printfection T-Shirt sales. Each product purchased adds an extra $5 to the pool. Take your pick from three impactful slogans: "I'm a Miracle," "Courage," and "One Tough Bitch."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Less-Adoptable Pet Week Sept. 17-25

Cure Black Dog Syndrome!

Sadie's friends at The American Dog Magazine produced this important video advocating against "Black Dog Syndrome."

We purposefully adopted a black dog (and a pit-bull mix at that!). Do you own a black dog? Share and encourage others to look beyond fur color and associated stereotypes.

Find out other ways you can help:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dog-Friendly Weekend in Santa Barbara

Photo by Michael Spiegel,
My mother-in-law sent me a birthday check to put toward an iPad or Kindle or anything else I might like to buy. I decided the best gift to myself was a Labor Day weekend away with my husband Matt and our miracle Sadie dog.

Camping would have been our solution in the old days (i.e., before Sadie's near-fatal double-rattlesnake encounter). Although Sadie has been trained in rattlesnake aversion, I face the prospect of even the shortest nature hike with trepidation. (I need to rebuild my confidence as well after all we suffered that fateful Memorial Day 2011).

And so I chose a beachy, rather than wilderness weekend. True, Sadie was bitten first at the water's edge, but that was in a remote canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains and not the action-packed Labor Day-weekend-crowded urban retreat we found in Santa Barbara.

The best part? Dog-friendly lodging, dining and fun!

Pet-Friendly B&B: The Old Yacht Club Inn

Just steps from the beach and a bike ride from State Street, this California Mission Craftsman built (circa 1912) was indeed once the yacht club. Pets are verboten in the main house, but welcome in the adjacent Hitchcock House. We stayed in the cute Gallaher Room, tastefully appointed with antique furnishings and photographs, an Oriental carpet (which Sadie couldn't stop sniffing) and a patio right outside the door. This would have been convenient for those 2 a.m., "Wake up, alphas! I gotta go potty!" barks from most dogs. Sadie, however, insisted on a lengthy jaunt around the block and/or beach.

Dog-Friendly Breakfast: The Old Yacht Club Inn serves up complementary full gourmet breakfast with an ever-changing menu that reads like a Julia Child show transcript except you might find jalapeno in your ham and cheese souffle or avocado in your omelet. Just be sure to let the staff know you are dining outside on the patio; remember: pets aren't allowed in the main house. Also worth noting: The inn will cater to personal diet needs if you ask in advance. For example, I'm a vegetarian; I got oatmeal in place of ham and cheese souffle.

Pup-Friendly Pub: Yes, SB's Brewhouse does serve beer. An impressive cast of lagers, pilsners, ales, IPAs and wheats are handcrafted onsite. Sample a pint or two as you sup up local oysters, jerk chicken or a mint-lamb burger.

But the real reason to hit this hip Montecito Street gastropub? The "Brew-Dog Menu," of course! Your pooch has her pick from tri-tip bites (which Sadie devoured) and chicken strips to gravy and dog biscuits and frozen marrow served with a bottomless dog bowl of water. Just what you'd expect from a place that serves its own Buster Brown Ale.

Off-Leash Beach: Arroyo Burro Beach, more commonly known as "Hendry's Beach" or "the dog beach," is not to be missed, so keep your eyes peeled for it as you cruise down Cliff Drive. A lifeguard's chair separates the off-leash from leashed, but there's plenty of room for Rover to roam. Watch out for large waves and occasional fights over dog toys. Don't forget to pack a bottle of water.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sadie Playing Fetch at the Beach

Three months after a near deadly double-rattlesnake attack, Sadie shows off resilience and a pure lust for life.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Two Rattlesnakes & One Miracle Dog

By: Lindsay Morris

It was Memorial Day weekend when my husband Matt and I decided to take Sadie along for what would be her second-ever camping trip. She snored in the backseat as we drove 45 minutes to Angeles National Forest, not far from Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation, where we'd adopted Sadie 2 years prior.

We hadn't even tried to book a campsite in the Forest, itself; it was one of the busiest weekends of the year. Instead, we ventured off-the-beaten path to Devil's Canyon, a wilderness area. A sign at the trailhead warned of bears. Looking back, I almost wish we'd encountered bears rather than the more elusive serpents of that aptly named canyon.

We pulled off Sadie's harness nearly as soon we began our descent. She'd gallop ahead and then stay, waiting for us to appear around each bend. She snuggled between our two sleeping bags at night in our tent on the beach of a creek that ran through the canyon. The next morning, after breakfast, we decided to take a hike. Sadie leaped like a gazelle through the tall grasses, chasing lizards and smiling as her tail spun like a propeller. She was so happy.

It was nearing noon when we decided it was time to pack up and prepare lunch. Matt suggested we refill our canteen with water from the stream, using our newly purchased filtration system. We crouched at the water's edge; Matt, squeezing the pump and I, holding the canteen.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sadie swinging something. I turned my head, and screamed, "DROP IT!" Sadie dropped what I feared she'd picked up: a snake. We ran to her side and she stared at the 3-foot-long reptile gyrating in the ripples. Matt grabbed a large rock and smashed the snake's head.

For a moment, we laughed nervously. Maybe it was already dead. But then Matt noticed Sadie was bleeding. There were several pairs of puncture wounds on her face. Read more ->