Category Archives: Machete

Honor the Legacy of a Rescuer

The Kansas City rescue community lost a devoted den mother a few days ago.

vanessa

A heart of gold.

Vanessa Melchert was active with various rescue organizations, including Midwest Adopt-a-Bull, and helped save a lot of animals over the years.

As her friend Staci puts it, Vanessa

“…never cared about any of the political crap that can come with rescue and she truly cared about the dogs and about saving lives. Vanessa saved so many and did so much even when she was sick. She fought hard for so many dogs and she always liked to raise a little cain about BSL too. God got a good one this weekend. I know she is dancing at the Rainbow Bridge with all her fur babies. “

I did not get to know Vanessa well, but I will always remember the first time we met.

It was an adoption event.

She was there with a sweet, long-legged pup named Tobias. I was there with my ill-fated, handsome foster boy Charlie Machete.

Vanessa could tell I was struggling with my situation. I’m sure she could see that I would be hard-pressed to find another home for that tragic animal. But she understood why I had to try and why I believed in him.

And she wouldn’t let me leave that day without a long hug.

I’d like to think Charlie Machete greeted Vanessa with a sloppy kiss at the Rainbow Bridge and – along with so many other creatures – will keep her company until her fur kids can join her.

Vanessa left behind two pit bulls – a 14-year-old named William Wallace and a black female named Kesa Roo – as well as a cat named Echo.

All three were taken to the animal shelter after authorities discovered that Vanessa had passed away in the home. Vanessa’s friends are now working hard to ensure that her pets can live out the rest of their lives with the level of care they received from Vanessa.

An online fundraiser has been set up to raise money for all of Vanessa’s pets. Click here to donate.

Vanessa’s senior pit bull William Wallace is an extra special case who needs a peaceful home in which to finish his days. 

senior pit bull

Adoptable William Wallace

Anyone interested in helping him specifically should call Julie at 816-898-1696.

Please share this story for Vanessa.

 

Foster Failure

In the dog rescue world, the phrase foster fail often has an ultimately positive meaning.

Rather than going to a new home, a foster dog turns into a forever dog. Whether he bewitches his temporary peeps or just never gels with new ones, it’s all good. He’s safe, with people who love him.

I wish I had a foster fail story like this. But I don’t.

My foster failure story sucks. It involves intense bonding, intense fear, blind love, sharp teeth and a needle.

If you’ve been following this blog for long, you already know a lot of the story.

Almost two years ago, my boyfriend and I found a black dog.

Wayward dog #3 - Charlie Machete

The big mutt did not want to be caught, but Zach, my hero, managed to loop a leash around the snarling beast’s neck and gain his trust within minutes.

So began our adventures with the dog who came to be known as Charlie Machete, a striking black mongrel with a shovelhead, feathery tail, a lean, wiggly body and no manners.

He tore up our yard, bounced around our house like a “pinbull” and perched on countertops like a semi-domesticated panther.

He also occasionally growled at our friends, and tangled, expensively, with our golden retriever.

But for all the chaos Charlie Machete wrought, he could also be quite charming, trading tricks for treats, jogging tirelessly at my side for miles every day and snuggling close all through the night.

black dog on a walk

Best. Running. Partner. Ever.

We always knew that, for many reasons, he could not be our dog forever. However, we could see Charlie Machete’s potential. We loved him so much we were sure someone else could fall for him, too.

And they did – twice. But each affair was short-lived, and the second time he came back to us by way of a shelter three hours away.

Back under our care, he seemed a little calmer and a little more fearful. He was accepted into a rescue group but never liked meeting strangers at adoption events. He sometimes peed submissively in the house.

Eventually, Charlie Machete and our golden seemed to have worked out their issues. Charlie Machete even got himself a very tiny girlfriend and joined playgroup a few times at daycare.

But his distrust of most people – even some with whom he interacted regularly – persisted.

And then, recently, his fear came out in a rage against someone who inadvertently approached him in a way that made him uncomfortable. When I yanked on his leash to keep her safe, he redirected his frustration toward me.

No one was hurt, thank goodness, and the dog behaved calmly as soon as I removed him from the situation.

But that moment, the latest in a handful of close calls over the past year and a half, changed everything.

If I could build a bubble around this dog that I love so much, I would do it. But I cannot. And I cannot continue to risk him hurting another person out of misplaced fear.

Machete bat ears-crop

Tomorrow, the vet will come to my house, and I will give up on my foster dog for good.

It will be the hardest day I have had in a long time.

I’m sorry, Charlie Machete. I know that in ways I have failed you, despite my love for you. Thank you for all you have helped me to learn.

DIY Duds for Your Dog

Even you can make your own dog clothes.

black lab mix standing

He has seen the DIY light.

Because I’m a sucker for upcycling and DIY, the rag bin at the recent Dogs on the Lawn event at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art caught my eye.

I had read in the event schedule that one of the activities involved making shirts for your dog, but I didn’t know exactly what that meant.

I was thinking blank doggy tees and magic markers.

But the art students leading this activity were far more crafty than that!

They clearly had figured out what we have all known for a long time:

Dog apparel is expensive in the same way as women’s swimwear and lingerie. You pay a premium price for very little fabric because it’s cute.

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$11 on clearance at Fab.com.

For the art students, a way around investing in a bunch of pre-made doggy shirts was to upcycle old fabric. Their rag bin consisted of various shapes, sizes and colors of well-worn and soft T-shirts.

Next to the bin were several patterns for cutting the cloth into no-sew, homemade doggy duds.

Because I didn’t have any of the wayward dogs with me and the event was winding down, I grabbed a yellow shirt sleeve that seemed big enough for an elderpin to squeeze into.

Then, I proceeded to the screen printing area.

Guests could choose one of several patterns and colors. There was a pretty cute outline of a dog with a heart design, but I chose something more representative of this particular day.

I picked a shuttlecock, a locally-understood symbol of the Nelson, which has a giant shuttlecock sculpture on the lawn.

A student helped me screen printed the piece of fabric for me and pinned it to a clothesline with everyone else’s so the ink could dry.

DIY dog clothes from old shirts

I was pleased with the result. But back at home, I realized quickly that even a stretched out T-shirt sleeve is a bit too snug for an elderpin.

Nevertheless, the project did not go to waste. It makes a very nice neck band for one Charlie “Chetty” Machete.

And the color suits him well, since he is undoubtedly a yellow dog.

black lab mix wearing yellow neckband

Have you ever made your own dog clothes or done screen printing at home?

If you want to upcycle the scraps in your rag bin, check out this eHow article about making old dog clothes from things you have around the house.

To try your hand at DIY screen printing, try out this Instructable.

Beer With Their Breakfast

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

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Yes, Luke. Yes, it is.

But it doesn’t matter, your beer is alcohol-free, and it doesn’t even require that nifty bottle opener you wear on your collar.

So, go ahead, guzzle some Bowser Beer. Lap it up at the beginning of a hard day. Use it like gravy, even, on your kibble.

The other guys are doing it, too.

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I’ve known about the dog-friendly Bowser Beer for a while, but I had not run into any locally until last weekend’s Dogs on the Lawn event at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

For just a few dollars, I grabbed a bottle of the Beefy Brown Ale for my boys to try.

According to the label, the suggested serving size is one bottle for medium to large dogs and half a bottle for small dogs. However, even the proprietors of the food truck for dogs where I bought it said they don’t give their two labs that much beer.

They suggested a splash here and there, maybe drizzled over some kibble. Just refrigerate after opening, they advised.

I broke out the bottle the very next day. Before pouring some in a dish for the dogs, I tasted it myself.

I found it watery and slightly sweet, not so beefy.

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Scooby tried it next. Although puzzled at first, he soon lapped it up eagerly.

Luke then had pretty much the same reaction.

Finally, Charlie “Chetty” Machete got his portion. He was least impressed of all, licking at the bowl and then looking up at me, as if to say, “Where’s the beef?”

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The next morning, I poured a little Bowser Beer over everyone’s dry food. That did seem to make mealtime significantly more exciting.

Although I don’t see us buying Bowser Beer by the case, I think it’s a brilliant item for a dog-oriented food truck to stock. I’m sure Good Dog 2 Go will do great business  at pet-friendly races and other summer events.

Besides the novelty, one reason someone may want to give their dogs Bowser Beer is for the glucosamine.

Bowser Beer

Glucosamine HCL is the fourth ingredient on the label, after water, beef and malt extract. The only other three ingredients are common preservatives: citric acid, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate.

I could also see how incorporating Bowser Beer into a dog’s diet – regularly or as an infrequent treat – could help boost a dog’s water intake or help make liquid medicine go down a little easier.

Bowser Beer is made in the U.S.A. with all domestically-sourced products. You can learn more at BowserBeer.com.

Would you let your dogs try Bowser Beer?

I have no affiliation with Bowser Beer. I simply bought some and wanted to share my experience!

Dogs in Boots: A Tragedy

After the first round of snow blanketed Kansas City, I suited up Luke and Charlie Machete in their winter weather gear.

Due to his propensity to get ice balls stuck between his toes, I recently began putting boots on Luke during snowy walks.

As with most things, the golden retriever tolerates the boots. And as long as they stay on, they do keep his feet dry and clean. Sadly, he lost one boot in deep snow five minutes after this video was taken.

golden retriever in snow shoes

Pro tip: Dog boots are not so good for trudging new paths through snow drifts.

This was first time I ever managed to get boots on Charlie Machete. He seemed so uncomfortable, however, that I did not make him wear them out of the house.

I am pretty sure if I had, a certain snide little elderpin would have never let the black lab mix live it down.

Let me know what you think of this video. Scooby’s cameo is my favorite part.

Have you ever put snow shoes on your dog?

Return of the Blizzard

On Tuesday, the world outside our Kansas City windows looked like this. image

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In a follow-up to last week’s snowstorm, Snowpocalypse II dumped another 10-12 inches across the metro, and pretty much shut down the city.

The dogs and I didn’t mind too much, since it was perfectly possible to snuggle get work done on the couch in the home office.

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Can’t you see I’m working here?

And then, suddenly, it was no longer possible to be so productive. Right after I snapped that Instagram of Charlie Machete playing office, we heard a loud pop across the street.

A transformer had exploded, and the power would be out for the next 20 hours or so.

Reportedly, some 100,000 people lost power at some point during the storm.

As one of them, I feel incredibly lucky that friends and family offered us a respite from the cold overnight.

Bonus: The sleeping accommodations included a fireplace and Charlie Machete’s spastic girlfriend Roxy.

Wherever you are today, I send you warm wishes!

Have you ever been stuck with your dogs and no electricity? Share your story in the comments!

Snow Day in Kansas City

A big ol’ blizzard came through yesterday and turned Kansas City into a winter wonderland.

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In the end, the snow was as deep as Scooby is tall. Needless to say, that made going outside a real challenge for the elderpin.

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Charlie Machete, on the other hand, enjoyed every romp he got in the white stuff.

The weather wasn’t all fun and games, though. At least 7 cars got stranded right outside my house throughout the course of the day, and wrecks littered the roads and highways all over the city.

The Big Snow of 2013 (aka Winter Storm Q) led to a state of emergency being declared in Kansas City, with schools, businesses and even some medical facilities shutting down for the day. I felt grateful to be able to work from my warm, safe home all day, surrounded by the dogs.

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?

Executive Orders

After celebrating my 31st birthday all weekend, it seems my break from the daily grind has been extended.

presidents day dog meme

Secretary of Defense Charlie Machete and Vice President of Waywardness Luke Jones delivered the message for their boss.

president's day camo miniature pinscher meme

The Wayward Dogs hope you have a relaxing President’s Day!

Who Do You Love?

Here’s a guy who is confident in his appeal this Valentine’s Day.

miniature pinscher bitches love me

Oh? You noticed the hairs on my shirt? Those are from that husky dog.

The truth is: Scooby the elderpin is right to be cocky.

He’s never going to be without a valentine (aka the woman he pukes on in the middle of the night) as long as he lives.

Rescue dog Scooby is among the uber-lucky 1 in 5 U.S. dogs who will be receiving a valentine gift from their doting human caretakers this year. Luke and foster boy Charlie Machete fall into that category, too.

However, in the final hours leading up to Valentine’s Day, they did not seem so self-assured.

sad golden retriever

Will I ever get to see Minnie again?

sad black lab mix

Why are girls scared of me?

If they really could talk, I would have told the big boys not to fret – lots of pups and people out there think they are just great. (Right??)

And then I would have showed them the neat valentines I made with their handsome little faces.

Instead, I’ll show them to you:

golden retriever valentine

black dog valentine
miniature pinscher snood valentine

Which valentine do you like best? Would your dog like to be one of these boys’ valentines?

If you are still in need of a valentine gift for your pet, check out my Valentine’s Day gift guide for dog lovers!

Pink Isn’t Just for the Ladies

Remember the recent controversy surrounding the dog who supposedly acted “gay” and was consequently surrendered to a shelter by his owner?

That ignorant guy probably wouldn’t appreciate Charlie Machete’s latest outfit, either.

"Is this a good color on me?"

It’s a boy dog! Wearing pink!

I, however, think my big black foster dog looks extra fetching in hot pink!

He didn’t seem to mind rocking my old t-shirt, either. 

Maybe that’s because dogs are colorblind.

Or maybe it’s because Charlie Machete admires how distinguished Scooby the elderpin looks in his #skybluepink sweater from Tiennot Knits.

Boy dogs look good in pink.

Boy dogs look good in pink.

Regardless, Charlie Machete pranced around in the hot pink tee for over an hour, not once attempting to wiggle out of it.

Zach’s sister, who babysat the black dogs while we were in Nebraska over the weekend, agreed that her favorite Wayward Dog looks good in the bold color.

Striking a pose.

Striking a pose.

What do you think? Does Charlie Machete look pretty handsome in pink?

If you aren’t intimidated by a guy who is willing to rock hot pink or Cabela’s camo, consider making Charlie Machete your own!

Check out his adoptable profile www.midwestadoptabull.com.

Valentine’s Day is almost here – be sure to check out the Wayward Hearts gift guide for dog lovers!
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