Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pet of the Week Interview; Scrappy Rat Designs

Etsyveg: What is your pet's name, birthday, sex, breed?

Veronica: Usagi, birthday unknown, gotcha day (when we adopted her) January 1996

Etsyveg: Where/how did you come up with their name?

Veronica: That was the year of the rabbit and Usagi means rabbit in Japanese. And it didn't hurt that we are Sailor Moon fans (Sailor Moon is named Usagi when she's not busy kicking ass.)

Etsyveg: Ooooh Sailor Moon. I remember her! Cool name! Love it!

Etsyveg: How did you meet your pet? Were they Adopted, rescued or other?

Veronica: I was working the intake phone at Independent Animal Rescue when someone called to find a home for a rat terrier they had found. Apparently, they had been returning from a holiday trip and saw a little dog running into traffic on the highway next to a peanut stand. They pulled over to recommend the proprietors put their dog on a leash so she wouldn't get run over. The people at the peanut stand said the dog wasn't theirs, that she'd been hanging out their through 3 days and icy nights. The driver asked if she could help take the dog back to her home if she lived nearby, but the people at the stand said, "Ain't nobody lookin' for that dog." They watched as the little dog tried to jump into any car that stopped and decided to take her back to Raleigh and find her a home. I mentioned to the caller that I already had a rat terrier and she said she'd be right over with a photo. That night we brought my dog Revco over to meet the dog and when he instantly fell in love with her, we did too.

Etsyveg: I met one of my dog's in a similar manner. So great of you to adopt her!

Etsyveg: If your pet was rescued or adopted, from who? Please share the website if you'd like to.

Veronica: Officially, she was adopted from Independent Animal Rescue, where I was working at the time doing intake phones, helping with adoption "matchmaking", as general assistant to the president: They're a fantastic organization. Please support them or better yet, adopt from them!

Etsyveg: What are your pet’s favorite toys, foods, snacks, activities?

Veronica: Usagi loves anything soft and destroyable, like stuffed animals she can eviscerate. She adores eating and would weigh 50 lbs if we let her (she's 14 lbs and really doesn't need to be any bigger.) Her favorite treats are Tofurky Jerky, pizza crusts, and homemade treats (from my book, Yummy For Dogs: A Cookbook for Canines, on sale now via my Etsy shop: All proceeds from the sale of this book go to animal rescue and advocacy groups. This month they go to Etsy for Animals' Charity of the Month, Best Friends Animal Society. Thank you for tolerating this shameless self-promotion. Now, back to Usagi. Her favorite pastimes are playing with her "brother", Revco, barking at the UPS man, chasing squirrels (don't worry, they're much faster than she is), and sleeping under blankets. We've learned not to just flop down on the couch anymore without checking under the blankets first so no one gets smooshed.

Etsyveg: Usagi sounds a lot like my Dogs. "The couch hogs." So cute!

Etsyveg: What are some things you enjoy doing with your pet?

Veronica: Pretty much everything. We like going to coffee shops together, trotting around the dog park, and doing clicker training together. She's so clever, she learns tricks very quickly and loves to show them off to make sure everyone knows what a good girl she is.

Etsyveg: Sounds like fun!

Etsyveg: Do you take them to parks or to see people?

Veronica: Absolutely! She loves to go places. Oakwood dog park is a favorite, but we'll go just about any place that allows dogs. When I worked at a vet kennel, they used to come to work with me. When I was training dogs for Sylvie's K9 Solutions, they got to go to all sorts of training classes and events with me. Usagi and I even took a canine massage class together. We had a blast! Unfortunately, with my spine problems, I can't teach the classes I used to and we don't get to do as many things out of the house as before, but we have a great time when we do!

Etsyveg: Do you take your pet on vacations with you?

Veronica: Yes! We love to travel with our dogs. They've been on trips to DC, to visit their "grandparents" in central Florida, to visit my mom and brother in Tallahassee, on a trip to Charlotte, if they can possibly come along, we'll take them. We've even taken them on a special vacation just for them--the Rat Terrier Jamboree in TN! It's a full weekend of rat terrier events including games, cookouts, raffles, exhibitions, trick contests, races, and lots more. It was so fun, we're hoping to make it there again next year.

Etsyveg: Awesome, that sounds like the perfect vacation for a pup! Lucky pup!

Etsyveg: Does your pet have any special tricks or unique habits?

V: She's very obedient and knows lots of words, but one of my favorite things we've worked on in the past is shape differentiation. She does a pretty good job of identifying squares and triangles. Now we need to add circles to the mix.

E: That's amazing! She really is a smarty!

E: How does your pet like going to the vet? Do s/he *know* when it's time to see the vet & hide, or do they enjoy the extra attention?

V: A little of each. She hates the shots and bordatella vaccine, but she turns right around from making her snarl face to dancing around happily the minute the vet pulls out a "cookie".

E: Oh that's good she recovers gracefully. :)

E: How do your family members get along with the pet?

V: My husband Scott and I are the only humans in the house, and we adore her of course, and vice versa. As for our other pets, well, she and Weezee (cat) are scared of each other so they leave each other alone. Toulouse (also a cat) really wants Usagi to be his friend. He rubs his face on her muzzle, but she just stands there frozen, looking terrified. On the other hand, they happily sleep back-to-back as long as there's a thin layer of blanket between them. It's some sort of unwritten law of peace they follow. Revco, who I mentioned before, loves her dearly. They absolutely hate being separated. Usagi pretty much ignores the turtles and the rats and the degus and she's never met Pelt, my chinchilla (who lives in the dog-free zone where the cats can also find a bit of sanctuary from overactive silly dogs), and that pretty much covers all of our resident animals. We also foster rats and hamsters and the like for Carolina Pet Rescue and for the most part, she disregards them, too. Of course, we don't let her get too close to any of the small animals (she *is* a rat terrier, after all) but she seems to understand that they're not for her to bark at, despite her propensity for barking at similar creatures outside.

E: Do you spoil your pet?

V: Well, I enjoy cooking their meals and I spend most of my time with them, but with all the horrible things I've seen done to animals in my years working in rescue and animal advocacy, I'm inclined to think we should give our pets all the love we can. That said, she is very well trained and disciplined. That in no way means she's been trained using harsh methods--my dogs will never wear choke chains or be shocked into compliance. Good discipline is about consistancy, humane training, and good communication between dog and human, not about bullying dogs.

E: What's the most important/special thing your pet adds to your life?

V: Living in constant physical pain isn't easy, but my animals help keep me going on the hard days. They need me to get up in the morning, they want me to play, train, and snuggle with them, and they always know how to make me laugh. That's really important.

E: Awww that's so hard, living in pain. I know about it myself. So glad you have the animals to help you. HUGS!!

E: Anything else you would like to add?

V: Please adopt from shelters and rescue groups. Rescued animals aren't second-rate, broken, or less-than ones you buy. There are already more pets than there are homes for them. Spay, neuter, and adopt. It's the only way we can stop putting down millions--yes, millions--of healthy, adoptable pets every year in our animal shelters. And that doesn't just go for dogs and cats. Rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, reptiles, birds, rabbits, ferrets, and more all can be found in shelters and rescues. There's no need to buy these animals or shop in pet stores that sell them. We can break the cycle of suffering.

E: I agree! I have two rescued doggies. They know how good they have it, and appreciate us all the more! I find myself saying: "I'm the lucky one" all the time.

Thanks again for introducing us to Usagi and the other furry friends on your household! Please check out Veronica's shop!

XOXO Heather :)
My shop is here.


FireHorse3 said...

What a lovely interview and story about how Usagi came to you. Thank you for sharing it and for all the work you do for animals :D

Lucy - Lunique Jewellery said...

Brilliant interview! Usagi is so cute, and clever- I'm amazed she can tell shapes apart! Totally agree about rescue dogs, and all rescue animals- they deserve a loving home and I think after they've been through a tough time they are even more affectionate towards you because they know you've given them a second chance :-)

palafoxstudio23 said...

great interview!! thanks for sharing usagi's story. he's a total cutie & a smarty too~awesome!!

mvegan said...

Usagi is so adorable, and thank you for spreading the word about adoption/rescue! ;0) Michele

silentlotus creations said...

What a completely adorable pup! Those eyes and that cute tongue are to die for! :D