Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pet of the Week: Meet Revco, Rat Terrier Foodie!!

Meet Revco! 
He is a rat terrier companion to EtsyVeg Member, 
Veronica from Scrappy Rat Designs.

What is your pet's name, birthday, sex, breed?
Revco, Jan. 11, Male (neutered, of course!), Rat Terrier

Where/how did you come up with their name?
Mostly because we thought it was cute (he almost got named Burger King
because we were driving around just shouting out the words on
different signs for ideas) but also because, at the time, Revco drug
stores had the slogan: Revco, a Friend For Life. That was too perfect
to pass up.

How did you meet your pet? 
We thought, at the time, that a breeder was
the way to go. Rat Terriers were listed as a "rare breed" (they may
still be) so we believed that you couldn't find one in rescue and we
wanted a breed we knew was good with cats, which is typical of the rat
terrier. Little did we know our experience would be so awful or that
rat terriers are glutting shelters and rescues. I feel bad for the
mistake we made supporting that awful breeder with our money, though
of course we don't regret having Rev. Not only was the breeder
treating their dogs badly, Revco also suffers from luxating patella, a
mild heart murmur (which has improved greatly, I believe due to his
healthy vegan diet--I'm a voracious label-reader and I home cook
whenever I can), and an overcrowded mouth, most of which, if not all,
should have been red flags for breeding any dog. All I can say is that
I'm not perfect and I learned an important lesson about adopting and
how important rescue and advocacy for animals is. I've aimed to do my
best to help animals however I can, ever since.

 Were they Adopted, rescued or other? 
If your pet was rescued or adopted, from who?
See above. If you do want a rat terrier, there are several resources I
highly recommend. Rat terriers are great dogs if you're interested in
a clever, high-energy dog who wants to be by your side 24/7. They're
crazy excitable, but also very cuddly and people oriented. You have to
commit to giving them exercise and training, but they are able to be
exercised in a small space, so they make fabulous apartment or city
dogs if you're up for walks and an occasional trip to the dog park
(little dog side only, please!) They are a blast to train since they
learn very quickly and enjoy the process if you make it fun. I'm a big
fan of clicker training, a type of positive reinforcement training
based on operant conditioning. These aren't dogs for young or
rambunctious children, though, since their bone structure is light,
making them fragile little dogs. If you absolutely insist on going to
a breeder instead of rescuing, look out for people who sell "toy rat
terriers". There's a reason that toy sized dogs of this breed aren't
recognized by the registries (the sizes that are include miniature
(8-12lbs), standard (13-20), decker giant (20-30)). Rat terriers are
fragile as it is and when you mix an absolutely tiny dog and their
matchstick bones with the drive and energy level of a terrier, it's a
disaster waiting to happen. It's not kind to breed a dog who will
suffer broken bones and other injuries on a regular basis, simply
because they are not structurally sound. Don't be fooled by pet stores
and puppy mills wanting to make a buck by selling cute tiny dogs,
never mind the animal's suffering.

The website or contact information of the rescue organization:

I've done home visits and transports for Ratbone Rescues and they are
fabulous! Rat Terrier ResQ is one I'm familiar with via the rat
terrier email lists, and I hear they are a wonderful group as well.
Notice how many of the rat terriers up for adoption are 3 years old.
That tends to be when the newness of a puppy wears off and the lack of
effort, socialization, and the neglect to train really starts to show
and people dump their dogs. Thankfully there are rescues out there to
step in, give these dogs the love, training, and care they need, and
adopt them to people who are willing to make a lifetime committment to

What are your pet’s favorite toys, foods, snacks, activities?
Rev is a bit of a food snob. I wrote a book on homemade treats for
dogs and he's been known to turn his nose up at other treats. There
are some store bought ones he likes, but he's very selective. He would
usually prefer treats that I'll eat too, like soy yogurt, tofurky
jerky, vegan pizza, and his favorite snack...ethiopian food. I have to
bring him some any time I go or he gets miffed. 
He's definitely a diva dog.
He's a big fan of toys he can shake while growling in an attempt to
look "tough" (it doesn't work, but we pretend it does for his sake.)
He loves clicker training and showing off his skills. He is one dog
who can work a crowd. We used to do synchonized dog drill team,
visited nursing homes to entertain the people there, and he was my
assistant when I taught dog training classes (all this happened before
my spine went kablooey) and I always said that he only misbehaves when
it's funny. It's true. He has a great, albeit obnoxious, sense of

 What are some things you enjoy doing with your pet?
We spend a lot of time on the couch together, but he also loves going
to his favorite pet supply stores to sniff the merchandise. We also
visit the little dog side of several dog parks, and he loves coming
with us when we go out for coffee. We're lucky that there are lots of
dog friendly places here in Raleigh.
Do you take them to parks or to see people?  Do you take your pet on
vacations with you?

Absolutely! He loves to travel with us and he's a very well-behaved
guest. He's very polite in hotels and he loves visiting my inlaws. He
even likes our nephews and neices, though he does tend to hide when
they get too rambunctious.

 Does your pet have any special tricks or unique habits?
Rev's most unique trick is "swimming on the land" where he dog paddles
across the floor. The nursing home residents loved it. :)

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

He's not willd about the vet. In the waiting room he always runs to
the door and looks at me like, "Go on! Open it! We can go home now. We
don't have to do this, you know." It's cute, but it never works.

How do your family members get along with the pet? Do you spoil your
pet? What's the most important/special thing your pet adds to your
life?  Anything else you would like to add...

He's really loved by a lot of people and that makes me very happy.
Sure he's spoiled, but he's also well disciplined (mind you,
discipline is *not* the same thing as punishment. People often confuse
the two), so he's not rude or destructive.
I love Revco so much, I could explode.
Thanks for letting him be the Pet of the Week!

Posted by JFillustrations


FireHorse3 said...

Hello Revco! You are one special little dog and look like a bundle of fun and joy.

Thanks for highlighting the puppy farm issue - my sister in law unknowingly fell foul of this and also has a puppy with health issues.

Heather said...

What a cute, furry bundle o' love! Loved meeting Revco!!

Lucy - Lunique Jewellery said...

Aw what a cutie! Lovely to meet you Revco! I'd not heard about rat terriers before- great to learn about them!

Donna said...

Revco is a sweety!! I hope to meet him in person some day!

Veganessa said...

beautiful doggie. Lovely to learn about you.

auclairdelalune: recycled fabrics for human and habitat said...

What a cutie! You are so right to emphasize that training early on = happy dogs and happy owners!

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