Friday, May 20, 2011

Tamira Thayne & Baxter

Who is in the photo at right?

This is Baxter and I on a spring walk, notice the sweats tucked in the socks to prevent ticks from crawling up my legs, tres chic!

I'm Tamira Thayne, founder and CEO of Dogs Deserve Better, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing dogs into the home and family, and the organization which is transforming Vick's Bad Newz Kennels into the Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs. Baxter is one of my foster dogs who was rescued from the end of a chain in a cruelty case in Allegany County, Maryland. He's a cute little devil, probably five years old; we're guessing some kind of Malamute mix.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

This is my favorite place in the world to bring my dogs and foster dogs. There's a gorgeous creek running through it, and we can walk for a couple of miles and usually not see anyone. It's one of the few places I feel comfortable taking them off leash and letting them really run! These pics are from an early spring trip, when the mud is just starting to dry up.

What's brewing?

I brought along some Red Clover tea, it's supposed to be good for menopause, and I need all the help I can get in that direction.

Any goodies to go with the tea?

Nope, just two dogs and my daughter.

Any treat for Baxter on this occasion?

The running free is the treat out here! Dogs get to run free in today's society all too seldom.

Please tell us about your rescue work.

I work solely for chained and penned dogs, to bring them into the home and family. In the past nine years, I've fostered about 180 dogs and gotten them into loving homes. When I take them off chains or out of pens, they are not housetrained, vetted, or bathed, so we have a lot of clean up work and socializing to do to get them ready for new families.

How were you and Baxter united?

There were four dogs in his cruelty case, and I ended up fostering three of the four. The other two have found homes, and sweet little Baxter is still waiting for his forever home. He has a cough when he runs a lot, but he is not heartworm positive nor does not have any heart or lung problems. The vet has ascertained that pressure from the chain and collar collapsed or damaged his trachea, and there is nothing we can do about it. All the more reason to love him and let him go as much as he wants to go! He can still live a normal life and get a family who loves him.

How did Baxter get his name? Does he have any nicknames?

He came in with the name Baxton, but we kept forgetting and calling him Baxter, so it just kinda stuck. We are nickname-givers around here, so he has a lot of them. When he first came in with another malamute mix female, neither one of them barked when you came home. They'd both just sit on the other side of the fence and stare at you. It was kinda creepy! So my fiance started calling them the No-Barkies. Well, as soon as she left, he started barking his head off, so now he calls him Barky. My daughter calls him Badger, because she likes to give them nicknames like the nature animal they most look like. I like to call him Poppet, because he's so cute and poppity and reminds me of a little English boy.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Probably all of the above, he's quite curious about other animals, and gets a little snarky with the other dogs over food sometimes, even though they're twice his size.

Tennis ball, Frisbee, squeaky-toy...?

He likes the squeak toys, likes to rip them apart or carry them around with him, but he shows no interest in chasing a tennis ball.

Where is Baxter's favorite place for an outing?

Well, the only place we've gone other than the vet is the woods where he gets to go leash-free, so I'm sure that's his favorite place! I'd pick the woods over the vet any day of the week!

Who is Baxter's best pet-pal?

Baxter is buddy buddy with Roxy, aka, Clicky (because she prances when she walks and her nails click on the floor), as they are the same size. They play the most when we are getting breakfast ready for them, they chase and tag each other while they are waiting. It's cute.

If Baxter could change one thing about you, what would it be?

That I'd spend more time with him. When there's six foster dogs and a mom who works a lot of hours (even though from home) and still tries to spend time with her fiance and her daughter, there's just not enough mom to go around. He is a very shy dog, and very afraid of kids, so I think they hurt him while he was on the chain. But he loves his foster mommy, and likes to lick my face. He's a very sweet dog; I love to cuddle him, and he loves it too.

What is Baxter's proudest moment? Most embarrassing?

Baxter's proudest moment is when he succeeds in chasing another dog away from their food bowl. Between them and I, he's not often successful, but if he succeeds in getting their food, he's a happy and strutting boy. His most embarrassing moment is when the bigger dogs put him in his place. He likes to think he can hold his own with them, but then he realizes that's just not the case.

Visit the Dogs Deserve Better website.

Learn more about Tamira Ci Thayne's book, Scream Like Banshee.

--Marshal Zeringue