Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An Oldie but Goodie

So I got my old dog, but it wasn't the one I thought I was getting. The emergency fostered turned out to possibly be dog/cat aggressive so I requested he go to a different home (not fair to my 2 cats and Bill). Instead, I was asked to take a seven-year-old ex-puppy mill breeder who had been adopted and then returned.

The family who adopted her said they couldn't keep her because she bit their daughter. They found they couldn't potty train her so for six months, they kept her quarantined to the kitchen with their other dog. They were "so sad" that they couldn't bond with her because she had to stay in the kitchen all the time. They said she was becoming aggressive with their dog over food and bones, and that she must be blind and deaf because she walks into things all the time.

So I went into this thinking I was getting a very broken dog. Turns out, however, that there is nothing wrong with this dog. Zoye has not stopped licking me since we got her, and she's just a little cuddle bug! They said they had tried to use a diaper on her and she just walked around in circles, but I think they tried once and thought it was too hard to put the diaper on. I wasn't going to diaper her until she peed on my bed (ground for diapering), and it has been a good thing. Each time she lifts her leg (yes, she pees like a boy!), I give her a firm "no," rip off the diaper, and put her outside. I think she'll get it in time. Unless, of course, she's peeing because she just can't hold it after having about thirteen litters! I'd be peeing all over the place, too!

She's getting along great with Bill and doesn't even notice the cats. Oh, and they told me she eats and drinks so fast that she throws up everything., she doesn't. I hate to jump to conclusions, but I'm wondering if the dog in that house was terrorizing her, causing her to eat and drink fast and pee everywhere because she was so uncomfortable.

I hope we can find her a great new family who will throw her favorite squeaky cheeseburger for her all day and understand if she needs a little extra understanding about pottying. It's sad she was adopted and then returned (after six months!) but I'm glad our family will be able to give her a Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Perfect Fit for Christmas

I'm not big on Christmas gifts because I don't like the idea of a mandated day when I'm required to give someone something. Doesn't that seem kind of contrived? If I want to give someone a gift, should it matter what time of year it is? Because of the mandatory gift-giving nature of Christmas, we all end up with extra junk in our homes that we didn't want or need. I feel I'm doing people a favor by not contributing!

Okay, I'm not completely a Grinch. And to prove it I'll tell you that when the opportunity came along for me to give some strangers a wonderful gift that they really wanted, I jumped on it! An application came in for Poppi, but I was hesitant because the woman said she wanted a potty-trained dog, and that was definitely not Poppi. However, everything else on the ap looked great - three kids, stay at home mom, decent-sized yard in a nice neighborhood. I figured I should give it a try, so I sent her an email and within hours got a phone call back. In another few hours they were up at my house and Poppi seemed to be in all his glory around the kids (I think he was actually glowing!).

Their story goes that they were ready to adopt a different dog from MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue - they went out and bought all the requisite stuff for their new dog and were supposed to pick him up from the vet after his neuter, but there were complications with the procedure, and he had to go back into foster care for evaluation (sad!). So here they were, hearts broken, back on the hunt for another Boston Terrier. They had researched and planned for their perfect dog and were certainly upset about the one that didn't work out. Then they saw Poppi on and were instantly smitten.

The world works in mysterious ways, and our introduction yesterday reinforces my belief that everything happens for a reason. If you read my last post, you know that Poppi went to the wrong family and was returned within three days. Coupled with the fact that the prospective family was to get another dog but that dog had an issue preventing him from becoming theirs, I have to say that Poppi and this family were meant to be. When they walked in the door, Poppi immediately jumped up on the kids (the youngest of which was only a head taller than him). Instead of crying or screaming, the kids giggled gleefully. The mother was very nice and asked great questions (this would be their first dog), apparently reconsidering her position on potty training. We talked about belly bands and how they can help with the potty training process (and save rugs and furniture!), feeding twice a day, appropriate exercise (as much as possible, please take Poppi to the dog park a few times a week, too), and sleeping conditions (under the covers in someone's knee-pit, of course!). Poppi just wiggled his tail the whole time.

Just like with Craig a few weeks ago, when it was time to leave, Poppi went out the door and never looked back. Did it hurt my feelings? Nope, because I KNEW he was off to a new beginning and a great life with a family who had carefully considered their decision to bring a dog into their lives. Here's my PSA: Dogs and puppies are NOT something that should be given as holiday gifts unless they are planned for and the whole family is in on it, as was the case with this family.

Up next... We've got a nine-year-old female coming to stay with us. I was just thinking yesterday how much I love old dogs, and now one is coming into my life. What a wonderful Christmas present for Bill and me!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our Boston Buddy Is Back!'s what happens when the person fostering a dog doesn't thoroughly interview several potential adoptors before giving her dog up: the dog gets returned.

Poor Poppi - after only three days he was returned from his fifth home in his short year and a half life (if you count my foster home). It's good it was only three days, though, as I think he thought he went to camp. I've never seen a dog so happy to see me! He was returned because the dog in his new home kept fighting with him, which was definitely a personal (dogal?) issue with the other dog because I've had Poppi around at least 30 different dogs (including Bill) and he's done just fine. The guys who adopted him said he wouldn't eat and that he had diarrhea, which is strange because he did just fine with me. I'm guessing he knew he just wasn't in the right place. The people who tried to adopt him were very nice, and I'm sure we'll find them a dog that is a better fit, but had I gone through my usual screening process Poppi would not have had to go through this - lesson learned.

Why didn't I go through the regular process? Because these guys had adopted from us before and I was told that Poppi should go to them by our President. She clearly meant well, but just because my dog was closest to those guys didn't make him the right dog. My red flag was that these guys are about 75 years old, and Poppi's only 1.5. I don't want to see him outlive his owners (no offense, but he's been bounced around enough already). These guys should adopt an older dog. Additionally, upon meeting their dog, the dog snapped at Poppi and the dog was obese. Poppi is in great health and I don't want to see him end up that way too.

Anyway, moving on - we'll find Poppi a good new home and in the meantime enjoy him while he's here. The first thing we did was stop at some ball fields so Bill and Poppi could get reacquainted. They ran and ran, bumping into each other and playing chase; it was a joy to watch. Poppi's a great dog and he stays right by me when off leash. He's smart and pretty trustworthy, even though we've only known each other for a week. He's hiked with us a few times and he does great. No complaints here - all we need to do is get him potty trained and he'll be the perfect dog. Woof!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hoppi Poppi

The scene is replaying in my head over and over - it's kind of comical but at the same time sad. My new foster, Poppi, is running through my house (away from people), making a high-pitched moaning-crying noise. This went on for about 24 hours every time someone new would walk into the room. He was just plain terrified.

I'm not really sure why - the people who had been watching him for the past month seemed to like him. Although, I must admit, they also seemed a bit strange. In his short, 1.5 year life, Poppi had already seen three owners. First it was some guy with good intentions (maybe?). Poppi and his brother seem pretty well adjusted once they get to know you, so I'll give the guy a B- for dog rearing. That is, until he went to jail. Then Poppi and his brother went off to mom's house for 5 months. She couldn't potty train Poppi and so she dumped the two dogs on her son, who was married with a four-year-old, two dogs, and two cats of his own. That makes for a whole lot of lives in a little apartment.

So now we get to the reason why I said the brother is weird. I rolled up to our rendezvous point and the brother and his wife were already there waiting. The wife hopped out and opened the hatch of the car to give me Poppi...but Poppi wasn't there! Somehow they hadn't noticed that Poppi was already out of the car and running around the gas station. Weird thing #1.

Then I began asking questions. I didn't think they were very difficult questions for people who had a dog for a month (plus two permanent dogs of their own). They were questions like, "How many times a day does Poppi go poopie?" (Isn't it funny how "poopie" become a completely acceptable term after having dogs or kids?) Their answers always came back to: "We don't really know. We've only had him for a month." Weird thing #2.

Okay, folks. The "We don't really know" answer might fly if you had him for two days, but a month? Plus, they said he wasn't potty trained. Don't they know how much poop they're picking up off their floor? I can tell you that in the three days I had Poppi, he pooped five times and I picked it up off my floor twice (hooray for three poops outdoors!). How could they be so out of touch?

My interaction with the people who were surrendering Poppi was baffling and so I wasn't sure what I should really believe about Poppi. They said he was fine in the car, and so I didn't bring a crate, which was probably a mistake. He IS fine in the car, but on his first trip with me he was very nervous. I have a sedan and he kept jumping into the back window like a cat. At one time he even jumped from the passenger seat to the back seat via the "over the headrest" path (he could have just gone around - much easier?)

At home he wanted nothing to do with us, but I can't blame him. I immediately bathed him and then strapped on a belly band so he wouldn't pee in the house. I wouldn't like me very much either after that! However, the next day he warmed up and it turned out he was a very sweet dog.

Our rescue had a repeat adoptor in WY whose dog had just died from heart complications, so Poppi was to go live with them. My husband and I were getting ready to fly him up to his new home when I discovered a lump between his ribs and hip on is right rear quarter. Not knowing what to think of the squishy marble, I decided to postpone Poppi's trip until I could determine the cause. It took a day, but the vet got back to me and assured me that Poppi's lump was a reaction to his rabies shot. How strange! I didn't know they gave rabies shots back there, but the good news was that Poppi could go to his new home.

We'll miss Poppi's big brindle smile, but we had to make room for the next dog. Who will it be? Some rookie fosters in our area just received their first puppy mill breeders, so I'm guessing I'll be seeing one of their fosters soon (it's a lot harder to foster puppy mill breeders than many people think). For now, it's just Bill and me. We celebrated the day by hiking our favorite trail. I KNOW Bill's smile isn't just because he's panting. His skippy little steps combined with a toothy grin have me convinced that he's having more fun than anyone else on the trail.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

C-ya Craig!

I thought I would cry but as I watched my little buddy prance out the door with his new mommy and daddy I had no feelings other than joy. I realized that he knew our time together was fleeting, that we were just a stop on his journey to a better life, and it made me so happy to think he wouldn't be upset about moving on to a new home.

When Craig came to live with me he was obviously nervous. I could tell by the puke in the back of my car and the drool coming out of his mouth when he met Bill. He left two weeks later with his head held high - no more fear-biting at the dogpark (at least much less!) and no more potty accidents in the house. This is one dog who had a life-changing experience at our home, and I couldn't be prouder.

How is Bill? He's thrilled to be an only dog again. Unfortunately he and Craig didn't really hit it off, aside from some tug-of-war.

We'll take a few days to enjoy each others company and then we're on to a new dog. I think his name is Poppy, and his dad went to jail. I hope he managed to potty train Poppy before being picked up by the cops - this one should make for a good story. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 4, 2009


Craig needs to find a new home soon because I'm completely falling in love. It's funny, when I first saw him I thought, "Oh, no, a white-faced one. How ugly!" I know, that's not very nice, but I'm being honest. However, it didn't take me long to change my view - between his loving, cuddly personality, his "ass attacks" when he moves furniture across the room with his butt, and sharing in his rehabilitation (watching his emotional and physical scabs heal), I'm simply in love. As I write, he's smacking his butt against out ottoman and pushing it across the room. It's really funny!

Anyway, taking him to the dog park to help him get over his fear of other dogs has been immensely successful. For the last few days we've been completely incident-free, both on and off leash. At the dog park, he's learning to play. He's still the "fun police," barking madly when dogs get too crazy, but other than that he's doing well. He's even done the butt-in-the-air play stance a few times!

I wish I had taken a photo today, but imagine this - a big, brown, furry, shepherd dog and little, black and white, Boston Terrier Craig meet at the dog park. Next thing you know, Craig is around his backside with his head completely buried under his back legs! It was about 10 degrees outside so we figured Craig was just keeping his head warm. It was very funny!

Looks like Craig is just about ready to move on to his new home. I've no doubt that he'll be fine with other dogs and a perfect companion for his humans. Now I just have to find humans to be the perfect companion for Craig!