Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Alumni Update: Bella

Bella was featured in our book Lost Souls: Found! Inspiring Stories about Great Danes. Her story was one of my favorites: After a rough first introduction to her new Bulldog brother, Tonka, they really hit it off, and she actually served as his umbrella, shielding him from the rain he loathed when he needed to pee. How cute!

Bella's mom, Debbie, sent me an update the other day:

We recently adopted another Great Dane from Great Dane Rescue, Inc. (GDRI). This "little" guy is approximately a year old and was picked up as a stray in North Bay, Ontario. He spent some time in a shelter there before GDRI picked him up. GDRI did a great job in telling us all about him, and we were prepared for an "obnoxious spotty boy."

We adopted him on August 11 of this year and named him Beau. We thought it would be cute to have Bella (beautiful) and Beau (handsome), but what we got was beauty and the beast! (kidding)

Beau is a fawnequin with one blue eye and one brown eye. He came into rescue with NO training and weighed 102 lbs. He did not respond to being called or know sit, down, or well, any other commands, really. We are working hard, and he is learning. He now knows sit, down, and is getting better at coming when he is called.

Bella is trying hard to teach Beau the rules of the house, like, for example, he should NOT jump over the couch when he is excited and wanting to play. This guy is a challenge, but we are committed to his rehabilitation. He is a sweet and loving boy and cracks us up with his silly antic. His favorite thing to do is stick his head under the floor length curtains in our living room and then slowly walk out from under it letting it drag over this whole body. Too cute. He also likes to lay on his bed and wait to be covered up with his blanket. He is a hundred-pound lap sitter. We just love him.

Bella continues to do well; she is so wonderful and easy going. Every night during our walk we are joined by our neighbor's little girl who is 10. Bella is so easygoing even she can walk her. Whoever says to stay away from shelter and rescue dogs because they have too many problems really should meet Bella; she can show them that sometimes bad things happen to good dogs and that rescue dog make the best friends. With time and patience and love we are sure that Beau can do it, too.

So there's the update. Note that I'm taking a little break from fostering right now so that my husband doesn't leave me (kidding!), so I'll continue to share alumni updates until I have some new fosters to complain, I mean rave about. :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Alumni Update - Tahoe

From Sarah Guenther - author of a story in Lost Souls: Found! Inspiring Stories About Labrador Retrievers:

At the time of publishing, Tahoe had just recently turned 2. At the time of this writing today, Tahoe is now happy, contented, confident and quite the little ham at age 3 1/2. His biggest milestones have been first, learning not to bark at the innocent people walking by our house and second, he has learned to walk off leash with us when we go to the beach. He is the silliest boy we have ever seen. When he's in the mood for some dog love, he jumps on the coffee table, blocking my view of the TV. Then he gives me a big tail wag and throws his body onto my lap where he rubs his nose into my armpits, snorting and emitting funny playful wookie sounds. He's become extremely close with his big black lab brother, Bettis, who complies with his frequent requests for a good ear licking. His yellow lab sister, Huck, has become his mother figure and she has helped him master the art of free-style doggie wrestling and taught him how to unstuff a pillow in record time. Every moment that passes, we are continually amazed at Tahoe's emotional growth. He's definitely settled into life with us and he has made it quite clear to us that he loves his forever family.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Easiest Goodbye

People often ask me if its hard to say goodbye to foster dogs. Sometimes it is very difficult, like in the case of Camille, who was a sweet, potty-trained dog that Bill adored. Other times the parting is much easier because a)I found the dog annoying for whatever reason, c) Bill and the dog didn't really hit it off, or c)the dog seems so happy to be going along to his or her new parents.

The latter is the case with Charlie, a rescue return who I only had for a few days. Charlie was adopted out to an elderly man, and within a year, the man felt he could no longer care for Charlie. (I wasn't the one who facilitated this adoption, but lesson learned - young, energetic foster dogs should not go to elderly people. There are plenty of older dogs needing homes who would have been a better fit.)

Bill didn't like Charlie because Charlie, like JayJay before him, made crazy growling noises while playing. Although Charlie is fairly dog-aggressive, Bill was the aggressor in our home this time! I had to break them up multiple times.

Even if Bill doesn't like Charlie, we do. He's potty trained, smart, and loving toward people. I was contacted by a man who had never had a dog before but felt he was ready for one now. He seemed like the perfect fit for Charlie, since he lives in an apartment, has no other dogs, and would be walking Charlie on a leash, so after a home inspection, this man was approved and ready to pick Charlie up.

We met last night, and Charlie jumped into his lap and licked his face immediately. After filling out the adoption contract, all he did was stand up, start walking, and say, "Charlie, come." Side by side, no leash necessary (we were in a large, safe field), Charlie and his new dog walked into the sunset, got in the car, and drove off to their new life together. It couldn't have been a more peaceful and happy transition.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Jay Jay Takes a Dip

Jay Jay is toy-obsessed, to put it lightly. You could get that dog to serve you his dinner if you hold a toy over your plate. The other night he proved just how toy-obsessed he was when we were in the hot tub. As we sat there, enjoying a "relaxing" evening, Jay Jay continuously threw his toy into the hot tub (it's above ground, mind you, and on his tippie-toes he can just put his head over the edge to look in). My husband finally balanced it on the edge of the turned up cover, so what did Jay Jay do? He jumped up, balanced on the edge of the slippery hot tub, and grabbed the toy off the cover.

From there it was a free-for-all. Jay Jay kept throwing the toy into the hot tub, and finally we decided that if he wanted to throw it in, he had to get it out himself. And...guess what? He did! Occasionally he could jump up and get his mouth around it, but more than once he actually dove right in! Check out the video below (it's hard to see, but if you tilt your screen right, you should be able to get the picture!).

Oh, Jay Jay! You are one funny dog! We'll miss you now that you've gone on to your new home, but at least all of our river rocks are now back where they belong - in the yard - and our guest bed is safe from your "inappropriate advances." :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dog Park Danger

When most people think of danger at the dog park, they think of dog fights or people getting hit by a joyful yet oblivious dog running at top speed. Yesterday I encountered a different kind of danger - one of the worst kinds for me.

You see, while I probably wouldn't be classified as homely, I definitely have frizzy hair, a nose with a slight bump on it from being broken long ago, and I'm pretty short (5'2" on a good day). The one thing I did have going for me was great teeth (thanks, Mom and Dad!). I've never needed braces, I've only had one cavity, and only two wisdom teeth have needed the ole' yank, so I guess you could say that I've been lucky in that department...until yesterday.

As I was leaning over to pet my foster dog at the dog park, a rambunctious Boxer/Dalmation mix came out of nowhere and jumped up on me, slamming his head right into my front teeth. I was tasting dirt, or what I hoped was dirt. But no, it wasn't dirt...it was fine bits of my teeth! I couldn't believe it - this dog had broken BOTH my front teeth - the only part of my face I really liked!

Luckily I was able to get into the dentist immediately, and my dental insurance covered the fix. They bonded my teeth, and I guess they are kind of as good as new, although I'm still feeling a loss for those little bits of my real teeth that are scattered somewhere at the dog park. My husband has a chip in his front tooth, and the bonding always breaks. I really hope that is not the case with mine.

While this was obviously an accident, it could have been easily prevented. The dog had been with its owner for two years. Why hadn't she trained him not to jump? This is a serious problem on trails around here and at dog parks. We have wonderful off-leash hiking access, but those without dogs often complain that they are jumped on. I always thought it was a dirt issue, but now I see that people can actually get injured as well.

Should this woman be held accountable for her dog? How? Had I not had insurance, it seems she should have paid for my medical bills. Also, I lost half a day of work, which is a problem because Happy Tails Books is overwhelmingly busy right now. There are two morals to this story: 1)Don't lean over when large, jumpy dogs are near, and 2)Train your dog not to jump, or you may be the one paying for someone else's dental work.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rock Star

It's been a week that we've had our newest foster dog, JayJay. He's been sick, so I haven't been able to give him as much exercise as I'd like, but he seems to stay entertained. His favorite thing is to come in from the yard with a big rock propping open his mouth. If we're out hiking, he'll carry one the whole way. I can't imagine rocks are good for his teeth, but I can't watch him every second of the day. I've provided him with plenty of bones and toys, but they don't seem to hold the appeal rocks do. As I write, he's desperately trying to get to a rock we've hidden on the counter top - nothing gets past this dog when it comes to toys and rocks!

We have to limit his toy time because his other favorite thing, besides jamming his mouth open with rocks, is putting a toy on your leg and gnawing on it.

Jayjay is actually a very sweet dog who will do anything to please you...he's just a little misguided right now about what is actually "pleasing." He's a good sleeper, he likes his crate, and he'd never intentionally harm a fly (although he is the size of a moose - okay, a very small baby moose - and when he steps on my toe or slams his giant head into my chin, it hurts!). Even when Bill snaps at him for getting too personal, JayJay just screams like a girl and runs away. This guy is truly a character whom we won't forget.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bye, Bye, Buster...Hello, Crazy Dog!

Just when I thought things were going to settle down...

Buster was adopted a week ago. Honestly, it wasn't really a match made in heaven, but it wasn't too bad, either. It was an elderly couple who promises to take him everywhere with them. They drove three hours to come meet him. He growled and snapped at the wife, and they still wanted to take him home! The thing I wasn't thrilled about was that they didn't seem committed at all to training him, which I always think is sad. Dogs are smart and they like learning, and Buster was no exception. In fact, he was very smart and motivated to learn! The man said, "I don't like dogs that are overly obedient. I want them to have their own personalities." He also seemed like more of the old-school kind or disciplinarian.

I explained to him how to appropriately discipline a Boston Terrier (with a firm "no" or "ah-ah" and a redirection into a better action). I'm not sure he got it. Anyway, the good news is I did get an email from them the other day saying that it only took Buster a few minutes to warm up to their son. Please pray for Buster - I hope they give him a good life.

So I took a week off from fostering because a)Buster was hard, b)My mom, dad, and I were performing in a circus, and c)My sister, niece, nephew, and a few friends were coming into town. It was a hectic week, and of course the rescued wrote twice asking if I could take in a dog. The second time I caved, and on Tuesday JayJay arrived. This dog is HIGH STRUNG!!!! (Really, his behavior warrants capital letters and the Boston Terrier owners' ever-so-loved multiple exclamation points!!!)

Despite the fact that he's got green snot coming out of his nose, the dog doesn't stop moving. My nephew was making a joke earlier in the day about a friend who makes "gnaw-gnaw-gnaw" noises when he eats, and then JayJay did just that! It was really funny. He gets very interested in the toys he's playing with - growling and whining like a maniac while trying to ground whatever it is into your leg. Bill really doesn't like him because he's always trying to hump him, and Bill prefers to be the humper. I think Bill actually bit him because after a little scuffle, JayJay came to me bleeding!

On the upside, JayJay is a very tail-waggy, loving, sweet dog who is potty trained. He's a moose, too - his head is easily twice the size of Bill's, and even though his ribs are poking out, he weighs 31 pounds (compared to Bill at a paltry 20 pounds!). I think a healthy weight for him would be closer to 34 pounds.

Yay for parents! They're watching JayJay for now, so I can get some work done and Bill can sleep. On Saturday they're taking the dogs so Dylan and I can fly a dog named Spud to his new home in Grand Junction, CO. We've never flown that route before so cross your fingers for us! Spud's new owner is very excited to get her new dog, and we're more than happy to deliver him. Oh, and I've been taking landing lessons, so even if I have to punch Dylan in the eye and knock him out on the flight, we should be good to land (just don't ask me to taxi - I almost ran into the hangar last week!)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bill Saves the Car

Dogs really do hear and smell things before humans can. I experienced this firsthand yesterday. We had only made it about a mile from my house on our way to go hiking (yes, I drive so I can go walk, I know it's weird) when I heard a sound like I had hit a pothole. I didn't think much about it, as being the awful driver I am, it's completely normal to hear those kinds of sounds. However, about five seconds later, Bill started acting crazy, like he couldn't decide if he should be in the front seat or back seat. (I know where he is supposed to be, but in the car is the only time he really wants to be near me! Don't try this at home!)

I thought, "Huh. Bill's being weird. Oh well, he's always weird." We went to the next light, and as I started accelerating, I heard a new noise that sounded and felt like we were dragging something. I pulled into a parking lot to check out what was going on, but didn't see anything. None of my check engine lights were on, and no, the e-brake wasn't on either. Things were getting really weird, so I called my mom to come get me and check out my car. After all, she's a motorhead. She would know what to do.

While I waited, I called Hoshi Motors, my favorite Boulder Japanese car repair shop. They thought maybe it was the brakes and suggested I try limping over to them since I was only a few blocks away. Well, I made it about a half a block before smelling burning. Again I pulled over and called Hoshi, who promptly sent this great buy Brandon out to see what was going on.

When Brandon arrived, he couldn't believe what he saw. An engine mounting bolt had completely snapped in half and my engine had shifted back causing all sorts of things to burn and grind. It was bizarre because my car is fairly new, and you don't expect that kind of stuff from Honda. Lucky I wasn't on the highway!

(That big hole in the picture is where a bolt is supposed to be, and that belt is what was grinding through the metal where the bolts went.)

Anyway, we were able to get the car towed to Honda, where the repair was covered under my powertrain warranty. Disaster averted, mom and I headed off to the dogpark in her car with the dogs. Way to go, Bill! Thanks for saving my car!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Making Progress

It's been a week and a day since Buster came to "Camp Bill," and we've made significant progress. Buster now has four human friends (Dylan, my mom, my dad, and me), a dog friend (Bill), and a cat friend (Chewie). We went on a hike the other day with my friend and her two dogs, and he did fine with them, too. This is big progress from the snarling, growling, lunging dog I had to put garden gloves on to crate a week ago.

When Buster realizes a person isn't going to hurt him, he immediately turns into a bundle of LOVE! He licks faces, snuggles, and cuddles with the best of them. And man, is this dog talented! He can jump so that his feet are as high as my waist (off the ground!). He's starting to learn commands, and I think agility would be perfect for him. I hope we can find him a human who would be interested in doing that with him.

I love this dog, but I'm totally embarrassed walking around with a dog who still has his testicles, so we're going to try and neuter him this week. I'm concerned about how he will react to the vet techs, but we'll figure it out. Pray for us! :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Whole New Dog

I guess absence really does make the heart grow fonder! I left for a few hours this morning, and when I got home, Buster was so excited that he washed my face for me for about five minutes. His enthusiasm for my homecoming could only be topped by my previous disabled foster dog, Max. (Remember him? Scroll back about two months.) Anyway, Buster is snoozing much more comfortably on the couch next to me and looking completely content. He's doing fine with the cats and with Bill, and I haven't seen any signs of aggression today. I think he was just insanely stressed yesterday having been separated from his doggie mom and dad for the first time ever. I'm glad he's coming around. He's turning into a very sweet dog.

The Stand-Off Ends

Foster #29, Buster, made quite a first impression. He was surrendered, along with his mom and dad, to our rescue yesterday. A woman who, to put it politely, seemed to be a little "off," left him and his dad with one of our new fosters and left the female with another. The new foster then brought him to me.

During our phone conversation, the new foster told me that he took a while to get out of the car and introduce himself to her, but other than that he seemed fine. Uh...so I figured, he sounds okay, I guess I don't need to bring a crate when I meet her to get him. I had Bill, my mom, and my husband in the car with me.

When the new foster pulled in, she opened the car door, and I saw a snarling, chattering, barking, growling Boston Terrier looking back at me. He didn't yet have a harness or collar on, so I asked her if she could put it on him. I really didn't think she could. He allowed her to, however, without ever taking his eyes off me. Boy, was I in for an adventure!

The new foster put my leash on him, and I was able to walk him over to the car. I put him in the car, and he seemed okay with Bill - not really noticing him. However, now I had a new problem. I couldn't go near my car!

Luckily a nearby friend had a crate, and I had some thick garden gloves, so I put the gloves on, carefully got his leash, and pulled him out of the car. We sat on the ground for a while, and I tried to calm him, to no avail. I kept inching my way up the leash until I was at the back of his harness, and while he continued to growl, I got my hand around his chest and quickly shoved him into the crate. Door shut...success!

He growled and cried the whole way home. I had never seen such a distressed dog! At home, Dylan and I weren't really sure what to do with him, but eventually we decided to try to let him sleep in the crate in our room. After hours of listening to him rustle around, I finally couldn't take it anymore, and I put him in the yard. I left the crate door open so he could pee if he had to, but every time I checked on him, he was still cowering in there. He looked SO scared.

This morning, when I got up to let Bill out to pee, Buster was standing outside of his crate, shaking uncontrollably. I got some cheese, sat down, and somehow got brave enough to try and pet him. He just melted into my hands, and at that point, I knew our stand-off was over. Since then he hasn't left my side, although he's still very nervous and distressed.

I actually think he's a great dog now - he even licked me, and now he's sleeping with his head on my leg. Poor little guy, I have no idea what happened to him to make him so distressed, but I think there's hope. Oh, and he's adorable!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cracking Jack's Shell

We're not always so lucky to turn around a puppy mill dog in a week, but boy, is Jack resilient! I may not be an animal expert, but after 28 foster dogs I feel like I've come up with a pretty good methodology for rehabilitating these guys (I know, a lot of you out there have me beat, but I still no longer consider myself a rookie). The trick?

a) Give them time to settle in and let them come to you
b) Keep their world small at first (thank you, Lisa from MLAR) and take every precaution that they don't bolt
c) Slowly give them more and more freedom to make decisions
d) Set them up for success

As a practical example, Jack was very fearful when he came to us last week. I have a very difficult time putting his harness and leash on him, and he wouldn't go outside if I was standing by the door. We had to do a little bit of "dancing" to herd him around the house, but it was okay - I knew he would come around. One thing Jack did want to do was sit next to me on the couch. He was terrified if I picked him up or went to him, but he would come to me. Great! We just went with that for a while.

To get him more comfortable with being approached, I always went to him with a treat. After a while, I think he saw me as one giant hot dog. Again, great! Now we can put the harness on him easily, and I can even pick him up.

As far as keeping his world small, I crate him when I'm not home, and for the most part he hangs out in two rooms in my house and my very small yard. He was definitely a flight risk when I first got him, so any time we went outside he was on leash, which I was constantly gripping tightly to make sure I didn't lose him. He did try to bolt several times.

We went to the dogpark at times when it wasn't very crowded to acclimate him to other dogs and work on recall. He caught on to "come" very quickly, and while he's not bombproof yet, he is much less of a flight risk now and he does come when called. He'd much more comfortable with other dogs, too.

I've been slowly giving Jack more freedom, and it is working out well. Now, when I take him to my trapeze rig (yes, I said that), he gets to run around in the field with the other dogs. He spends his time between where we sit and running back into the car with Bill (it's just a few feet away, and Bill loves to just sit on the floor of the car). If he starts wandering, we call him and he comes back. He's doing great!

In terms of setting him up for success, I still crate him when I'm not home to reinforce that we don't potty in the house. The potty training has been coming along well, but I see any accidents as major setbacks, so I try to avoid them at all costs. He doesn't love being crated, but I think he likes it much better than getting yelled at. At night, as I mentioned, Bill cuddles in the crate with him (weirdo!).

Jack is an awesome dog who turns heads everywhere he goes with his cuteness. I hope he finds the perfect forever home soon. Anyone would be lucky to have him.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Living in Colorado, we don't really see a lot of fleas. In fact, I had never seen one before yesterday! My new foster, Jack, had been scratching a lot, so I put some flea and tick medicine on him. The next day, when he hopped off the couch, I noticed a bunch of little brown things that looked like flaxseeds (how "Boulder" is that? I though fleas were flaxseeds!). Anyway, upon further inspection, I noticed they were fleas. How gross! But at least they were dead.

Then I saw a live one jumping off Bill! Aargh! I got the vaccuum, cleaned the couch and the floors, and washed my sheets in very hot water. Hopefully we're done with that now. Jack is still scratching, but I haven't seen any fleas since. Nevertheless, I'm scratching at imaginary fleas because I keep thinking they're crawling on me!

Aside from the fleas, Jack is doing great. He's got the biggest brown eyes and he's very intelligent. He's skittish if I approach him, but he always wants to be next to me if I'm sitting down. He's snoring next to me right now; he's got the sweetest little sigh when he snores. It's as if he knows life is going to be good from here on out.

Jack and Bill are funny together. Jack tried to play, but Bill has been grumpy. He doesn't even humor him, so then Jack comes and tries to play with me. I think he'll get the hang of toys in no time. I don't know what is up with Bill - he's really got an affinity for crates when they belong to other dogs. He won't sit in it when no other dogs are here, but when I want another dog to sleep in the crate, Bill crawls right in and makes himself comfortably. Twice this week I've just shoved Jack in there with him, and they sleep the night together in the crate. It's very cute!

Today Jack and I are going to work some more on recall. He hasn't had a potty accident in over 24 hours, so please cross your fingers that we're done with that! I don't think I can handle cleaning up fleas and pee on the same day. This is nothing new, though. The first few days with new fosters can be hard, but Bill does a great job getting them up to speed on home life. Jack is almost at the point where he knows to follow Bill around, which is a big improvement.

Last night Jack jumped onto the couch next to me, put his head on my shoulder, and stared up into my eyes. What a sweet boy! Those are the moments that make this all worthwhile.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bill Swims!

Bostons DO swim! :)

Jack's Catching On!

Jack came to us on Friday from a Missouri puppy mill. That's the same place Bill had come from (don't know if it was the same mill), so the two hit it off great. Jack is very skittish but he warms up quickly...although, he also forgets quickly that he just warmed up to you!

He's been with us for two nights now. The first night he darted around the house all night long. We tried to let him sleep in bed with us (Harleigh was in the crate), but he just wouldn't sit still, which really sucked because we had to fly Harleigh down to her new home the next morning, and we didn't get a good night of sleep.

The next night we decided we would crate him, but before he could go in the crate, Bill did! Jack really likes being near Bill, so we did the most logical thing - we crated them together for the night! It was so cute, and they slept pretty quietly. Honestly, I missed having Bill cuddled up next to me, but it was really nice to actually get a good night of sleep. I'm sure Jack will settle down as he gets more comfortable.

Jack took what was probably his longest real walk yesterday, and he did great. He's definitely not trustworthy not to bolt off-leash just yet, but he walked with us for the most part (he laid down to take a break once, poor guy - it was only a mile!).

Jack is a VERY cute dog. He's kind of unique looking, like he's a French Bulldog-mix or something. I don't think he is, but his ears are GIGANTIC and he's got squat, little legs. He's got a great personality, but he definitely needs to be in a home with another dog to help show him the ropes.

Our rescue is actually so full that we're not taking in any new foster dogs this month. I hope I can find Jack a home soon so I can open my doors to the next Boston Terrier in needs. In the meantime, Dylan, Bill, and I will do our best to get him potty-trained and more comfortably with humans.

The Stork

All week we had been trying to fly Harleigh to her new home in Canon City, CO, which is a 2.5 hour drive (1.25 hour flight) away. After being thwarted by the weather for several days, we finally made it! Her new family is wonderful - an older couple who lost their dog a few months ago. They have a wonderful home with a dog door that goes through a cabinet in the kitchen out to a ramp that Harleigh can mosey down to get into the yard. She got it first try!

Harleigh was a great passenger in the plane, spending most of the time sitting on the floor in the back. I, on the other hand, wasn't feeling so hot. The flight was really turbulent, and the bumps were wreaking havoc on my stomach. I was actually kind of pleased when weather rolled in, and we couldn't go home for a few hours because I didn't think I could hack it in the bumpy plane for another hour and a half.

After waiting out the nearby thunderstorms, we again took flight, but this time to a wonderfully smooth sky. We even saw an awesome rainbow:

One of the biggest struggles of this trip were that we had Bill and a new foster dog, Jack, at home, and nobody to let them out (my parents were out of town). We hadn't made arrangements for anyone to stop by because we thought we would be home quickly, but when we couldn't get back, I had to scramble to find someone to let them out. Our friend Gary came over, and as I expected, called me 10 minutes into hanging out at our house to tell me that neither dog would get off our bed. Big surprise! Bill's glued to that thing. Anyway, Gary ended up chasing them around the house to shoo them outside but finally was successful. Thanks, Gary!

So I was telling someone at the airport about how we took some puppies up to Rock Springs, WY to be adopted a few weeks ago, and the said, "You fly the "babies" to their new homes? You're like a stork!" I thought that was really cute. If only we had our own plane, we could paint a stork on it!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Finally, a New Foster!

It's been a long month. This was my first time teaching at the University of Colorado, and I have to admit, it was much harder than I expected! I'm glad I planned not to foster last month because I think it would have put me over the top.

Anyway, the month is through and we've finally received our new foster dog. Her name is Harleigh, and before she arrived I was told her family was moving into a small apartment and had to part with her. Uh...

Well, that may have been true, but honestly, good riddance. This poor dog came to me dirtier than I had ever seen from an "owner surrender." Her face is still brown despite my best efforts to wipe away her tear stains and the dirt, but I'm sure that will go away in time. She obviously wanted attention when I met her, but if I went to her, she would cower to the ground. Her nails were bloody from digging out of something and she had just recently been bred. She wouldn't eat or drink, and she was terrified of my other Boston, Bill. So sad!

It's been three days now, and she has made huge strides. She even PLAYED with Bill today! (Woohoo!). She's comfortably loafing on her side on the couch right now, and when I call her, she comes. She hiked today, probably for the first time ever, and she did a great job. She ate her breakfast and is starting to cower less. The trick? I just gave her time and space and let her come to me. She's the perfect dog, even if she doesn't yet know it: sweet, appreciative, attentive, doesn't wander off, friendly to people and dogs. Whoever gets to adopt her will have to have a little bit of patience, but in the end, they will be very lucky!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

He'll Be Back

So it was the biggest news of the month, yet it's taken me two weeks to blog about it. Why? Well, it might have something to do with the four or five books I'm juggling right now. It might have something to do with circus preparation (my hobby is flying trapeze, and our circus is coming up). Or maybe it's just that I'm teaching at the University of Colorado this month for the first time and class is every day! Either way, sorry this news is coming to you so late, but it's big. Are you ready? Drumroll...

MAX GOT ADOPTED! Yay! But it gets even better - Max got adopted by Madeline's parents, whose home is a rancher with carpet! Additionally, since I frequently dogsit Madeline, I'm sure Max is going to be around a lot, too (I'll be seeing them both tomorrow, in fact). This adoption really couldn't have turned out better.

Here's what Max had to say after his first day in his new home:

Hi Kyla

I am doing great. I was a bit upset and stressed after you left. I definitely would have preferred to go with Bill, but I mellowed out when I figured Madeline was here with me and she played with me. We went to the dog park out in Lyons, went for a good walk, met a horse, played in the sprinklers, and enjoyed the warm weather and tall grass. Whew, was I pooped out and slept in the car on the way home. I was really hungry when I got back to my new forever home. Then I got to sleep on the couch while my new forever family watched a movie on TV. Guess what? They let me sleep on the bed! But when I got up this morning and went potty, I came back into the bedroom and went back to sleep in my bed. I really like my new dad. He lets me give him lots of kisses and lets me sit in his lap and nap. Madeline and I have been playing outside in a really cool back yard. There's a big tree and I like to lay in the grass under the tree. I also got a brand new red collar today. This home is sooo cool. I think I am going to like it here. Thank you for finding my new forever home. You are the best-est (!) and I will always appreciate you, and I love what you have done for me. I am excited that I know I will always get to visit Bill and you.
Your best friend,


Awww! Joe and Kim, Max's new parents, are so LUCKY to have such a great dog, and he's lucky to have them, too!

Sunday, May 30, 2010


So it's been a bit of a circus at our house. Bill and Max have had their friends, Lucy and Madeline, over. We've never had four dogs (plus two cats) in the house before, and it was wild! These guys just never stopped playing.

Anyway, we were on our way out to dinner, and I thought to crate the girls because Madeline is unreliable with potty-training, and Lucy wouldn't stop playing with Max if I didn't crate her. I wanted them to calm down. I put the girls in their crates and then turned to walk out the door, when I heard a quiet, "Meow." I turned around to see:

Uh, oops! What's Chewie doing in there? When I crated the girls, I forgot that Chewie has taken up the habit of sleeping in their crates when they aren't "home." We laughed so hard and couldn't help but snap a few photos before letting Chewie run free. It's a good he was stuck in there with Lucy and not Max because, well, let's just say Max is a little "too interested" in him. In Lucy's case, she actually looked grateful for the company, but by the way Chewie took off as soon as I opened the door, I could tell that he was equally grateful for his freedom.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Max Attacks!

Now that Max is feeling better, he's become a very feisty guy! He gives a piece of his mind to all the puppies we encounter and loves to gnaw on my nose as he's washing my face for me. This is seriously the sweetest dog I've ever met despite all that he's been through! However, he does need to find a new home because my Pergo floors are so hard for him to navigate.

Last Thursday Max was finally able to get his surgery: two cherry eyes, a neuter, and two teeth pulled. Poor guy. Because just moving is an effort for him (he hops around on three legs and whacks the fourth on the floor for steering), he ripped open a few stitches and his testicle-less sack filled up with blood. Not to be gross, but it looks like a giant strawberry. I spoke with the vet about the swelling, and they didn't seem too concerned. They said it would reduce itself in time. I didn't mention the outer stitches down there because I thought I could just play doctor and superglue them myself, which I did.

But now I see that Max's left eye seems to be having some issues - I don't think they lasered enough of the gland, and it's threatening to pop out again. Looks like I'm going to have to go to the vet with him, and I'm sure they'll see my superglue job. I hope they don't get mad at me - I was just trying to save the rescue some money, and I cleaned the site first. We always superglue our cuts. Did you know that superglue was originally invented for use to close off small arteries during heart surgeries? Good stuff!

On an unrelated topic, yesterday was Bill's birthday but we're going to celebrate it today. He turned four - never thought he would make it that far after such a rocky start. We going to hike and do an agility test today to see if it's something he would enjoy. Later we'll celebrate with "dog cake" (hamburgers!). Happy Birthday, Bill!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

An all day affair

So here we are, sitting in the waiting room at Colorado State University. It's my first time bringing a dog here, and I'm surprised at how similar it is to a human hospital. The waiting room is full of sad but hopeful faces, which are punctuated by the occasional outbreak of tears. This is obviously not an ordinary vet clinic-if you're here for an appointment, you have something very wrong.

The good news I have to deliver, as my mom and I sit and wait for Max to return from his visit with the orthopedic doc, is that Man's cardiology appointment went very well. They said his issues are specifically from the heartworm, and he should not have longtime damage. Horray! Here we come netters surgery!

The bad news is that Max's leg cannot be fixed. It is not dislocated at the shoulder as we thought, but the elbow was not only dislocated at some time, but the ulna is rotated 180 degrees. It's an old injury and the bone is fused, so there is nothing they can do to fix it. He also has neurological damage in several parts of his spine making his back legs overly reactive and his front legs less reactive than normal.

It's not all bad news, though. These things should not stop him from living a happy life, although he's guaranteed to have arthritis as he ages. Additionally, he's now able to be neutered and get his eyes fixed. Also, we're not at the end of the road with orthopedic ideas - there's a guy in Denver who makes custom braces for dogs, and he just happened to meet Max at CSU today. He might be able to make Max some kind of "peg leg" so that he can better use that front right leg.

Stay tuned... I'll let you know what happens after we meet with him. Woof!

Friday, April 30, 2010

A Chicken or a Duck?

Yesterday morning I awoke to find snow on the ground. The dogs and I had the same thought: "Really? Isn't it almost May?" Bill could care less about snow; in fact, he really likes it. But Madeline and Max on the other hand, the white fluffy stuff is something they could do without.

After getting over the initial morning potty, I dressed Max in one of my favorite t-shirts for my petite Bostons - it's a little yellow thing with a chick on the back. Or is it a duck? I'm really not sure, although now that I'm looking at it carefully (he's still wearing it), I think it's a duck. He doesn't seem to quack when he wears it, but I think he's much happier with it on. He seems to chill very easily.

The good news is that Max no longer has yellow snot coming out of his nose (I was sick last week and I think he caught a sympathy cold). We've had him on Clindamycin for a week and it seems to really be helping. I've also been giving him a children's Benedryl each day and his eyes seem to be less red (though it's hard to tell with the cherry eye). Overall there's not much to report.

Madeline is going home on Sunday or Monday after a two-week vacation at "Camp Bill." After that I'm sure we'll settle back into our routine. I have no doubt that Bill and Max will keep each other entertained, as they're on the floor together right now playing bitey-face, and Bill is making his usual, happy, Wookie noises.

Next Thursday is Max's big day at CSU to find out what's going on with his heart and leg. I'll let you know what they say.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

No News Is Good News

I'm happy to report that the past week with Max has been uneventful...sort of. I stayed up with him all night again because he was breathing funny, and the next morning he had yellow snot coming out of his nose, but I think he was just having "sympathy sickness" for the cold I was suffering from. The vet diagnosed an upper respiratory infection (URI) over the phone, and we switched his antibiotic to something more appropriate to tackle that. (Could I have some, too? I'm still sick!)

My husband, Dylan, discovered that Max knows the "sit" command, although he apparently only remembers it when he hears it in Dylan's voice. Dylan says, "Sit!" and Max flattens himself to the floor while attentively staring at Dylan for a treat (he can't actually "sit" because of his broken neurons or whatever). When I say "Sit!" Max stares at me like I'm crazy. I just don't get it.

Anyway, mostly no news from our crazy foster home this week. We still have ex-foster Madeline staying with us, and the "kids" have a great time playing the day away. I'm embarrassed when I take her and Bill to the dog park because they gang up on other dogs with their overly-enthusiastic play, and I had to pull Madeline off a floppy-eared dog the other day because she seemed to think his ears were tear-offs!

Signing off for now - Max's big Colorado State University vet appointment is next Thursday, so if you don't hear from me before then, I'll be sure to post his results.

Friday, April 23, 2010

An Enlarged Heart

It's been a rough week. I was excited to welcome Madeline, a previous foster, back to our house for dogsitting. The timing seemed perfect because Max was just about to hit the one-month mark after his heartworm treatment, meaning that he could begin to do a bit more activity. I thought everyone would have a great time playing together, and they did...for the first three days.

Then Max got sick again. His breathing was labored and he became lethargic. Back at the vet for examination and X-rays, it was reaffirmed that Max's right ventricle was enlarged. X-rays from the previous month showed the same thing, but not being a vet myself, I thought that was a temporary condition from the worms. This time around the vet told me that it is permanent. They watched Max for the day and then sent him home to me, stating that he was doing much better. (Note: Look carefully in the X-ray image and you can also see his dislocated shoulder - it turns out it's his shoulder and his elbow. So sad.)

That night, I noticed again that Max was breathing loudly with quick, shallow breaths. I stayed up with him all night (because I was concerned about him and I had caught a nasty cold that wouldn't let me sleep anyway), and then again took him to the vet the next morning. That whole day was scary, as new X-rays revealed fluid in his lungs and I just didn't know if he would make it. The second time the vet called I almost lost it, thinking that she was calling to deliver bad news. But to my pleasant surprise, she was just calling to say that she gave him Lasix (a diuretic) and that he responded to it very well.

Max came home, and he's been happy with the limited activity I've allow him. He plays bitey-face with Bill and Madeline for short spurts and I allow him to walk around at the dog park for short periods (he's got to be fenced in because he doesn't yet know recall and he's VERY fast for a three-legged, uncoordinated dog!). He does have congestive heart failure, as the vet said his heart valves are not opening and closing correctly. He'll be visiting Colorado State University in a week to meet with a specialist.

I'm so glad he made it through those rocky few days. I feel completely responsible for his relapse, as he just seemed to be feeling so good, and I let him do too much activity. I would have been devastated to lose him. He's such a loving, special, little guy, and he deserves the best life possible.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Max-i Pad!

I just couldn't help myself - our latest foster Max is currently living in a giant crate that can only be donned the "Max-i Pad!" Check back a few posts if you want the whole story, but if you're just here for an update, I'm please to tell you that Max's recovery is coming along very well. We've got less than two weeks until Max is off "house arrest," and he's already recovering nicely. Two weeks ago he went into cardiac arrest from the disintegrating worms causing an embolism. Last week was full of wheezing and coughing. This week he's alert, happy, and the rasp we could hear in his breathing has mostly subsided.

Max is the cutest guy - he's a three-legged dog with bad coordination, but he doesn't let that stand in his way. He loves to play with Bill, the little I've been letting them interact, and will lounge on the couch with me all day until I tell him he can get off. The only downside is that he's a little incontinent. I hope once he is neutered this might stop, but I don't know why it would matter. I think he could use a dental while he's out, too! He's a licking machine, but it's kind of like being licked by a fish. Ewww!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Boston in a Bag

Believe it or not, my foster dog who almost died on me two days ago was most certainly feeling good enough today to get some fresh air. We're only a week into his heartworm treatment so he's still got quite some time until he can move around, but that doesn't mean he can't get some fresh air! I took a laptop bag, stuck some cardboard in the bottom, put at towel on top of that, and then simply inserted Max into the opening. It was a little hard to get all of his legs inside, but once they were in it was clear he had plenty of room to get comfortable.

Hiking with an extra 16 lbs. strapped across my shoulder was definitely a challenge, so I think I'll give a backpack a try for our next outing. I'm just so glad to be able to include Max in some of our usual activities despite his condition.

Dylan (husband) and I have been researching heartworm and we found some great resources. Here are a few:

-Heartworm Treatment on VeterinaryPartner.com

-Heartworm Treatment on VetInfo.com

-Heartworm Disease at the Dog Owner's Guide (this article is a bit older but I still found the information interesting)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Max Should Be Named "Rocky"

We spent the last week dog-sitting a previous foster named Madeline, who is just the sweetest thing (you can meet her if you go back a few blog posts). She left on Saturday, and on Tuesday we got a new foster named Max. I was only told that he was rescued from a high kill shelter in Kentucky by a family who wanted to save him but couldn't keep him. They held him for four months trying to find a family for him but ultimately had to turn him over to MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue's care. Max is heartworm positive and began treatment on March 18th.

Well, the woman who sprung him has family in Colorado, so she delivered him to my doorstep on Tuesday. I thought I had prepared for him, borrowing a large crate from my wonderful neighbor and outfitting it with a cozy bed, food and water bowls, toys, and chewies. Max would be spending his next four weeks in there because with the heartworm treatment he has to be kept "quiet." If he moves around too much the worms can migrate to his lungs or clot his blood, really causing problems. What I wasn't ready for was a dog with two cherry eyes (the third eyelid gland is pushing up into his eyes - needs surgery), a broken front right leg that is now fused at the elbow, and an obvious neurological disorder in which he can't get all of his legs to work together. This poor four-year-old dog should have been named "Rocky" because he's apparently a fighter to have survived this far!

On the upside, Max is adorable and very friendly, although he gets a little "too excited" and bites my chin every time I take him out of his crate (ouch!). I really like him and want to see him thrive, though I'm baffled at where to begin helping him. I was thinking that first I would help him get through the heartworm, and then we would tackle his legs. After that we could deal with his eyes.

However, this morning when I awoke, Max was not responsive. He had pooped himself, his eyes were dilated and he was limp. Luckily my vet is open for regular business hours at 7am, so with tears in my eyes I rushed him to the vet (thanks, Dylan, for getting up early and holding him in the passenger seat). By the time we were at the vet, Max was responsive, moving his head around and responding to sound. His gums were very pale and the vet is concerned that he's anemic on top of his heartworm. My concern is that he's going to clot because just moving around is an exhausting activity for Max. The vet is doing some blood tests (he's got the previous vet report so as to not repeat anything), and he's got a fecal sample.

Please cross your fingers for Max. It was a terrible morning, but I'm more optimistic now that he is getting some care. He truly is a beautiful, loving dog, and after all he's been through, he deserves to have some time in loving arms before going to the Bridge.

This is the hard thing about fostering. Max is our 26th foster dog, and though I haven't lost one yet, it's inevitable that it will happen sometime. This morning's events really drove that point home. Regardless, I'll love them until the end, and I'll cry for them when they're gone. But I WON'T STOP helping every lost little soul that crosses my path to the best of my ability.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Juno What, I Could Have Kept Her!

I never need to worry that we'll be long without a foster dog for Bill to play with because MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue is just so darn busy! Juno, like Madeline (one of our last fosters), was a puppy mill breeder. However, unlike strangely well-adjusted Madeline, Juno did NOT want to be touched. She was inquisitive and wanted to be near, even taking cheese out of our hands, but as soon as we went to grab her, she was across the room. Poor girl - I had never seen a dog's toenails cut (or broken?) back so far past the quick. She didn't seem to be in pain but I can imagine her paws hurt her.

Juno was tiny for a Boston - maybe 14 lbs. (my fosters average about 20 lbs.). She was an easy dog, catching onto potty training and never grumbling about staying in her crate. I received her after she had been adopted out to the WRONG person, which I'm still confused about. He was a single, retired man who was frustrated that Juno's previous foster didn't properly prepare him for adopting a puppy mill dog (which I don't believe) and he said he didn't have time to help her get over her issues. Uh, didn't he just say he was retired? he seemed like someone who just wanted to complain. BUT - these situations are exactly why I wrote the Mill Dog Manifesto a few months ago, a free eBook to help people socialize and understand their distressed, ex-mill dogs (check it out!).

The other thing that struck me as strange about the man adopting her was that Juno obviously needed to be in a home with another dog. When she came into my home, she went NUTS playing with Bill. For the four days I had her, Bill was her anchor - nothing was too bad when he was around. She even started getting brave with us petting her.

A few families applied for Juno, but the perfect one turned out to be only about 20 minutes away. The had adopted another distressed dog a year ago who had been tied to a tree for the first year of his life and had only eaten hay (yes, his stomach was full of hay when we got him). They brought him over to meet Juno and the two really hit it off. The only hitch was that I had forgotten to mention my cats, and their dog, Skippy, got a little too excited when he entered my home. Of course, instead of jumping up on something high, my one sassy cat decided to give him a piece of his mind, which only complicated things. But after a few minutes we had everybody rounded up and all was well.

The day after Juno went to her new home, I got Madeline back but this time only as a guest. Her new mom was going out of town for a week and asked me to dogsit. Madeline is a gem and we were more than happy to invite her back. But I wonder, did her mom really leave town or did she just want some cheap training for her? Just kidding, but I'm planning on giving her back with at least potty training and the words "come," "sit," and "stay."

What a great end to the week.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Marley Goes Home

So my friend didn't adopt Marley after all. They were on the fence, but after three days of him vomiting around the house and pushing the kids out of bed, they were done. It's strange, he must have been overwhelmed there because he's never vomited in my home. We live a very quiet life with a few hikes a day and the occasional tug-of-war, but there's no screaming kids to chase around over her. Maybe he was just overstimulated there?

It's been a heck of a week here. While Marley was on vacation at my friend's house, Bill decided to eat a Greenies...and then a bully stick...and THEN a sweet potato chew! And mommy never tried to stop him (he just looked so happy). Well, I paid the price for my lack of good parenting in more than one way. First, Bill vomited from 11pm until 2am, when he finally got some sleep. He began the next day with vomiting, and I left to come home to my poor dog sitting next to his vomit with drool stretching from his lips to the floor! Needless to say we were at the vet's office within the hour. $250 later I come to find out that he just shouldn't have eaten all that crap all at once.

They did this crazy thing call subcutaneous fluids for him - have you ever seen that? It's crazy. They took him in the back, stuck a needle under his skin between his shoulder blades, and filled that area with as much saline as they could pack in. He came back to me looking like a black and white miniature camel! I was horrified!

Luckily his water hump was quickly absorbed and the anti-nausea shot they gave him kicked right in. He's been in good shape ever since.

But... The next day I see my cat licking himself excessively, and come to find that he's got some kind of ringworm-looking thing on the inside of his hip. On goes the lampshade and anti-fungal cream, and for the rest of the day Tux drags his head on the floor around the house. It was a truly sad sight - he'd go to jump up on the bar stool and slam his plastic hood into the table, then he would fall off the stool. Poor guy!

What was worse is that he couldn't get into the litter box, which is accessed by a cat door, so I had to leave the door open. Enter Marley, who got returned that night and turned out to be a poop-eater...even if it's covered in cat litter! The whole night was a mess, but we got everything sorted out once I figured out that all I need to do is keep the cat box clean (duh!).

Today Marley got adopted by a great guy who really likes him and Tux is doing so much better he doesn't need the hood. Bill is no longer puking, so everything seems to in order. That is, until the next foster dog comes. (Oh! I hope it's soon!)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Foster Updates

If you read my last post, you'll know that I was told I'd be getting a Boston-Chi mix who was hit by a car as my next foster. I never got her because it turns out that there are good people in this world, and the pup had so many applications on her that my rescue decided there was no point in sending her all the way up to me. Go Tilly!

Marley: Funny story about Marley, the pudgy, humpy foster I had a few weeks ago. I left for vacation so Marley went to live with another foster. At first she said she would hang on to him, but then after he nipped her year-old grandson, she decided it would be better if I took him back. We met one morning at our usual spot, made the transfer, and then I stopped at a dog-loving friend's house on the way home. Well, that's where Marley stayed! He was having so much fun with her and her kids (age 7 and 10) that they decided to foster my foster. But are they really fostering? I think not, though only time will tell. I've heard the kids are mounting a campaign to keep the little guy, and my money is on him staying there for good.

Madeline: I received a great email from "Madeline" yesterday, so I thought I would share. She went to her new home last week, and though we miss her, it's clear that she's already become quite an important part of her new family. Here's her note:

Yes, I am adjusting quite well. I had a great weekend. I got to meet lots of new friends and some family. We went shopping at Pet's Mart on Saturday. It was really busy in there with lots of people and dogs. So a got a little nervous in there. Daddy took me out to the car and I felt a lot better. Mommy came out with a pretty new pink collar with a new bling tag on it with my name on it. I think I'm going to be very spoiled in my new forever home. I like my evening walks and I think Im more comfortable sleeping in my crate at night. But, early in the mornings Daddy gets up and takes me out to go poddy. I'm really trying to bond with him, but Im still a little afraid of him. Then I get to sleep some more on his lap while he reads for about an hour. Then he takes me to Mommy and lets me sleep with her on the bed until she gets up. Boy, do I LIKE that. Its so soft and comfy and warm that I drift right to sleep and snore right into Mommy's ear.

Today was my first whole day with Mommy and Me. We went to PetCo today to look for more chew toys that I can't eat. The others I've had I gobble them up and get real stinky gas! Pardon me! I also had a bath today. That went ok. I'm not sure that I like it a whole lot, but Mommy was real gentle and my skin is not as itchy. I also love playing outside. My next door neighbor, Ralphie ,and I like playing chase along the fence line. That's her in a picture below.

Gotta go now and take a nap before Daddy gets home. Will write again next week or two.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Portly and Pixie

It's amazing how different all of my Boston fosters' personalities are. My last two fosters were especially contrasting:


Found wandering the streets three years ago at about three years of age. He was adopted for several years but then the family lost their jobs and decided to relinquish him back to our rescue for financial reasons. They sent a long note with him about how much he was loved and all his ailments (bad knees, allergies, anal gland issues-ewww!), but from what I could tell they really had no idea how to care for a dog. He came to me severely overweight with nails so long that they were growing around is paws. He has little confidence, is severely overweight, and is the doggie equivalent of a sex fiend (seriously, check this out if you don't believe me!). I clipped his nails and began working on his weight by restricting meals and treats to the minimum and forcing him to exercise.

I think Marley was previously a puppy mill breeder for several reasons. He hates walking on grass and wood floors (which means he doesn't really like to go anywhere except on concrete). Wood just makes him crazy - walking from rug to rug in my home he does a 180 halfway across and then walks the rest backwards. Very odd! He is also not particular comfortable going through doorways. These are all common traits among mill dogs.

What a different dog from Marley. I call her a pixie because of the way she zings around the house. Bill was eating on the couch yesterday and she bounded at him with such force that she flung herself off the back of the couch and onto the floor! You may recall that Bill was a puppy mill breeder for two years before he came into foster care, and he was a WRECK! For three months he wouldn't get out of bed. Well, Madeline was also a mill dog for two years, but she's about as well adjusted as they come! She has a few mill traits, a little bit of fear and uncertainty about the outdoors, but other than that she's a doll! She loves toys and bones, LOVES to play with Bill, and curls up as close to me as she can get.

(Not so) Funny story: Madeline was with a foster in Nebraska who sent her to a forever here in Colorado. Apparently Madeline ate the woman's doors, molding, and couch, and she trashed a plant, so the woman called our rescue screaming for us to take her back. Of course, we did immediately, but not before finding out that the woman REFUSED to crate this poor dog when she was out of the house. What did the woman expect? Madeline has no idea about what is expected of her in a house! Long story short, Madeline came to live with me as a foster. She took one bite out of a house plant and one taste of the cat's food. A loud "No" permanently deterred her from trying again (at least in my presence). I walked upstairs and guess who was eating the couch? NOT Madeline... it was "perfect" BILL! What a dork!

What the Future Holds:
Marley went to another foster because I recently took a vacation. The other foster decided to keep him and work on his weight loss for a while as he waits for his forever home to come along. Madeline is most likely going to get adopted by a wonderful family tomorrow. They fell in love with her photo and appear to be good, responsible dog guardians. I really like them and so do all my animals - they received six paws up when they were here for their meet-and-greet today.

So tomorrow I've got another gal coming in. I have to be honest, I usually prefer to admire Chihuahuas from a distance, but this nine-pound Chi/Boston mix needs a quiet home to recover in after being hit by a car. She apparently received a brain injury and broken scapula from the accident, and I'm looking forward to the challenge of rehabilitating her and helping her build confidence, all the while discovering a new appreciation for the world's smallest dogs!


Monday, February 15, 2010

In the Nick of Time

Oh my has it been a week! Lovely Layla was adopted by a single mom with a six-year-old. She loves children so it was a good fit. The only concern is that she wasn't a fan of pottying on a leash, and her new family doesn't have much of a yard. Nevertheless, I hear she's getting the hang of it.

So I engaged in the cardinal sin a few weeks ago of scrolling through Petfinder.com even though I wasn't looking for a dog. I just wanted to see how many Boston Terriers were around but not in MidAmerica Boston Terrier's care. Well...I came across a little black dog, said to be a Boston Terrier-mix, named Emily. The write-up said that her time was limited so call soon. That was on a Friday. On Monday I was still thinking about her, so I wrote the shelter in Garden City, KS, where she was living, to suggest that if her situation really became an emergency I could try and get her into foster care.

The shelter wrote me back within five minutes to let me know they were about to euthanize her! Apparently she had been at the shelter since she was eight weeks old (she was now four months old) and her time had run out. I think the reason nobody wanted her was because she was black - the terrible "Black Dog Syndrome," which I knew nothing about before we wrote our book about Labs. It turns out that black dogs often get passed by in shelters because of the dim lighting - they are hard to see and sometimes come off as mean or scary. So sad!

Anyway, I told the shelter I would figure something out. My rescue wouldn't take her because she was already 25 lbs. - clearly not a Boston Terrier. The shelter said she was part Pit, but the Pit rescues said no way. I was stuck, until I remembered my friend Ashley had said she would take a foster for me if I ever had an emergency. Well, this was an emergency, so I called Ashley who said yes just a little too quickly. What was up? She had lost her Boston Terrier a few months earlier, and her elderly Pit Bull, Eli, needed a friend. Just the day before she had been talking with the neighbors about getting a dog, so she said she'd be happy to take Emily in (Note: Eli-Emily...pretty close in names!)

I paid for Emily to get spayed and updated on her shots, the kind woman at the shelter, Danna, paid Emily's "bail," and a Emily was sent to Colorado on a transport. Danna was concerned because she said Emily was a crazy puppy, but I assured her that we know all puppies are! Though I bit my nails for a few days, it turned out to be a match made in heaven. Ashley and Emily (now Emma) became instant pals, and Emma's presence has really perked Eli up. She's a sweet dog with a friendly demeanor and I know that she's found her forever home. Whew!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Fresh Tux

Due to a short reprieve from fostering (our new dog is coming on Wednesday), I thought I would take this opportunity to share a story about my cat. It actually does involve a foster dog, Layla, who got a wonderful forever family last week. Here goes:

I had filled the tub with about 4 inches of water in anticipation of giving my foster dog a bath. After stepping out for a moment to check my email, I promptly heard a splash and then a howl, which echoed through my home. Oh, Tux! The bathtub was one of his favorite places to relax (for whatever reason), and I guess that in all of his nine years, he had never been faced with the prospect of landing in water when he hopped in. It was only natural for him to leap without first looking. Needless to say, he won't make that mistake again! My soaked kitty came screaming into the kitchen and slid across the floor before landing on his favorite bar stool. While he sat there, staring at me in disgust, I couldn't help but snicker. My Tux had finally been cleaned!

Tux, less than thrilled about having a bath

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Boston Going on Boxer

Recently I was asked if I would take a new foster from a Missouri puppy mill that was closed down. Our rescue knew nothing about her, which I'm usually a little sketchy about because I've got my cats and dog to think of first, but I said I would help.

There were probably 20 people involved with getting this dog, Layla, from Kansas City, MO, to Boulder, CO. Our rescue arranged for her to get on a CARE transport (an organization that rents Enterprise vans and transports the dogs between several states regularly). There's at least 6-10 people involved in that. From there a nice lady picked her up at the drop-off point and drove her another half hour to Westminster. From Westminster I picked her up and took her to Boulder.

Everything went smoothly except that I was depending on my GPS to get me to where I had to pick her up. I was already down in Westminster, and when I reached in my glove box to get it, it wasn't there! Turns out my husband took it to California with him and "forgot" to tell me-apparently I was supposed to assume he had it because he had my car right before he left. Right...thanks, hon!

Anyway, Layla must have been waiting to get transported in a foster home, because somehow she is miraculously potty trained, knows just what to do when the car door is opened, and has been a wonderful house guest thus far. She's not afraid of anything and has really kept Bill and the cats on their toes.

This Boston is truly a miniature "Boxer," as she's spunky, loving, devoted, and even does the "Boxer Kidney Beans" (their signature wiggle). She gallops around the house like a horse and just doesn't ever stop moving. She bounces off the back of the couch onto the floor and loves to play "bitey-face" with Bill. This is not your typical mill momma...except for the mange, strange lumps, and udder-like nipples she's got hanging down. (She's on antibiotics and special shampoo, so I'm sure we'll have most of her fixed up shortly).

What a great dog! I just wish she'd settle down a little because her spay stitches are not doing so well (she's got a lump under her stitches that I've learn from the internet is probably an allergic reaction to the stitches or the area is filled with fluid because she WON'T CALM DOWN... And you can forget crating her because she goes crazy with mill flashbacks).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Another Cancer Dog!

This is a very bad month, but I guess we need "bad" sometimes to put the "good" in perspective. For example, I've been stressed out with Happy Tails Books because I switched our shopping cart to Amazon.com, which means people have to sign in to Amazon to check out now, and I have no idea if people don't make it through the process (with our old cart I did know). On the upside, the fees are much lower so I can donate more. Any ideas? What do you think about checking out with Amazon?

Anyway, all of these stresses pale in comparison to the fact that my latest four-hour foster (I was really just holding her for the day) needs to have her leg removed on Tuesday. I've never actually seen a bad mast cell tumor in person before, and I'd hoped I never would. Unfortunately, little Daisy was dumped at the Boulder Humane Society with a huge tumor. There's not much else to do but remove her leg because it's malignant.

I hear it hasn't spread to her lungs yet, and I hope that by removing her leg they can save her from future cancer trouble. She's a really sweet nine-year-old who is a little "too interested" in cats. (That what her paperwork said and it's so true! She bit my cat and made him throw up! He's fine but it was gross.) Please keep Daisy in your thoughts along with Zoye, who is with a great family now, but I still haven't heard the results from her cancer biopsy.

It's been a rough month but we're almost out of it. The Boxer book is about ready for pre-sale, and the German Shepherd book is well on its way. I'm looking forward to receiving stories for our next books which are maybe going to be about Pugs and cats. Yup... February is going to be much better.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Another Happily Ever After

I couldn't wait to get home and post the pictures of Zoye's big adventure today because she's just so darn cute. A few days ago I received an application from a person who had adopted from the rescue I work with in the past. She wanted a younger dog but was taken by Zoye's personality (Zoye is eight). Her family includes herself and her husband and three teenagers - plenty of arms to hold Zoye. They also have a ridgeback, and while Zoye is not much for playing with other dogs, she definitely thrives in their presence. They understand puppy mill dogs, have a high-energy home (which is surprisingly perfect for Zoye), and are experienced with Boston Terriers. What's more, Zoye had six tumors removed last week, and they took her before we even got the pathology results back - they couldn't have been more perfect.

Dylan (my husband) and I love it when we get adopters from Wyoming because we can usually shuttle the dogs up there in the plane. Today started a bit sketchy, as there were clouds and snow over the mountains, but we managed to fly Zoye as far as Laramie (her new family lives in Rock Springs, which is about 3 hours from Laramie). The flight to Laramie was easy, and Zoye just snoozed on my lap the whole way. When we landed, her new family was there to meet us, and they were SO excited. The FBO (fixed base operator - another term for the terminal where we landed) also had a dog, so Zoye had fun playing keep away (or rather, growl when the other dog takes my toy) for awhile. We chatted with the new family, gave them all the instructions they needed, and then we were off on our way home.

The ride home proved a bit more challenging, as clouds were coming in over the mountain. Okay, now you get to find out what a dork I am... I LOVE Star Wars, and I was so excited when my husband let me take the controls and fly us in between the clouds. It was almost as cool as a space battle... Anyway, we made it home safely and all is well, except we are minus one Zoye. I'll miss her to pieces but as I've said before: if she got a good family, we both won; if she stay with me forever, we both won. I didn't really have a preference except for us both to win on this one, and now our home is again open to rehabilitate the next little soul in need.