Thursday, October 29, 2009

Snow Cute!

People often say, "Wow! You've really done a great job with him. It must have been hard." Honestly, over the last year-and-a-half that we've been rehabilitating our ex-mill dog, Bill, there have been times when I thought he was never going to become a "dog." When he sat in his bed for three months and cowered each time I tried to walk him, I thought, "Maybe Bill would be happier with an older person who isn't active."

I'm so glad I persevered. Days like today make it all worthwhile. Toby, our foster, opted to stay in the car when we arrived at the dog park. But Bill had a blast! (photo credits: Dennis Duffy. Bill's got a fan club. I wish my parent's liked me as much as they like him!).

One tough cookie!

I never thought my professional career would lead to "Dog Tilt-A-Whirl Operator"

Fostering a Love for Snow

Bill and his buddy, Lucy, playing in the snow

Depending on the breed you foster and where you live, taking in dogs during the winter can be hard. With Bostons, it can go either way, but for a small breed they are pretty darn tough so the winter weather is usually not too challenging.

Luckily my new foster, Toby, doesn't mind the snow in the yard. In fact, he marches right in and does his thing. Bill, on the other hand, has taken to peeing on his feet on our patio (when is he going to learn!).

On the downside, Toby's got a skin and ear infection. I hope the mail trucks get out today - oh, back up, the fact that we got two feet of snow over the last day is integral to this story - Toby's ear medicine is in the mail from rescue and he really needs it. If you've never had a dog with an ear infection, it's pretty miserable. He's trying to stuff his whole paw in his ear and he keeps shaking his head vigorously. Curing it is easy, though, just a week or two of ear drops twice a day.

On the other hand, his skin will take much longer. We don't really know what caused the infection, but a cocktail of Benedryl and Cephilixin (sp?) twice daily should clear it up in a few months. He's also getting a weekly medicated bath, and luckily he's not too bad in the tub.

The point of all this is that I feel bad for Toby that he's not feeling well and has to go for walks in such cold weather. I feel bad for Bill, too, because he would spend the whole day at the dogpark, running in the snow, given the opportunity. I guess we'll leave Toby at home for that one today.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sweet Sixteen

Yay! We've got ourselves a new foster - our sweet sixteenth! His name is Toby, though I don't think he knows it. How can you live with a family for 5 months and know the "sit" command, but not respond to your name? Did these people not talk to him?

Toby was found roaming the streets of Colorado with a microchip that indicated he was from Arizona. But... that's all the info the microchip gave - the family never registered it! Sad - they lost a great dog.

Anyway, the family who found him kept him for five months but then decided they didn't have time for him. I find this so sad - he's a very friendly, licky dog who gets along great with everyone. He's two years old and a lot of fun. On top of that, he plays crazy but know how to settle down.

Toby's not perfect, though. With this guy I'm battling a skin yeast infection, ear infection, and some very strange howling. The shelter didn't send any meds with him so we'll be seeing the vet tomorrow. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Bug Who Squashed Our Hearts

I rehomed Penny, who we lovingly call "Bug," faster than any other foster we have ever had. It wasn't that I didn't like her (because she instantly stole our hearts and was a great playmate for Bill). Instead, I wanted to find her a new home quickly because I was concerned that if I didn't, she would never leave.

The extent of our roommate's attachment to her wasn't apparent until he came home to her absence and looked like he was about to cry! Here's a guy who thrives on irresponsibility - no tie-downs and lots of time out with friends. But - it seems he was bit by the Love Bug! A week later he's still fawning over her memory, often mentioning that she's the latest girl to break his heart.

I'm sorry he's sad, but I'm not remorseful about her new digs - he's never home enough to have a dog and I would have ended up caring for her. Additionally, as is often the problem with "foster failure," if we kept her we could no longer foster (too many animals at the zoo!). Instead Bug will be living the rest of her life with very conscientious parents and a spunky Chi brother. I think she'll be happy, and if she's not, they know our door is always open for her.

This one was hard to let go of - fond memories of this nine-pound "Little Bug" have left a hundred-pound impact on our hearts.

But now we're on to Rocky, number 15...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tummy Ache

Tummy aches in dogs always scare me because:

a) I'm a hypochondriac when it comes to my dog
b) My dog can't talk and so he can't tell me exactly what's wrong
c) There have been so many food recalls it seems like nothing is safe anymore

Uh, all of the above. I rarely go to the doctor for myself but have been to the vet several times this year for Bill. Bill's got a lump in his throat... (Oh, those are lymph nodes?) Bill's got a bump on his leg... (Oh, that's a bug bite?) Bill's got a lump on his shoulder... (Oh, that's just a normal reaction from his vaccine?) And on and on we go - the truth is that my boy Bill does produce quite a few random bumps, and since Boston's are prone to mast cell tumors I guess I'm not that crazy to get them checked out.

Anyway, back to the stomachache (does that word look weird or am I nuts? Spellcheck says it's fine). He seems fine, running and playing like usual, but his explosive you-know-what is telling me otherwise. He spent a few hours at the grandparent's house last night, and this morning I fed him a new wet food called "Core." I don't know if they fed him something that didn't agree, there is something wrong with this new food, or maybe he just ate too many sticks. Then again, if sticks were the culprit, wouldn't the fiber be more likely to make him backed up?

Well, we'll have to wait and see. It could be the dog flu but he's not vomiting and I don't think his nose is particularly runny. I didn't find much information online in my quick search about what to do for a tummy ache, but from being in rescue I know we can give dogs Bismuth Subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol). Apparently it can be fatal for cats. If you give it to your dog, be sure to read up on the right dosage first.

For now it looks like we're just in for a stinky night. Hold your nose... I'll keep you posted!