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

-Heartworm Treatment on

-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.