Starting Over (Again)

First, the good news – Gala is muzzle and cone free!

Her jaw has ‘knit itself back together’ as the doctor put it. She’s cleared for all activities – running, playing, even eating regular dog food!

The transformation was instantaneous. On the drive down to see Dr. Walker, she stood nervously behind me in the back seat. The last time we took this trip, she had a crate to ride in, but my big crate didn’t fit in the only car available for me to use and she refused to stay in the ‘way back’ where she would have been more comfortable. She fretted and I worried she would hurt her jaw being jostled around back there, but eventually she fell asleep as close to me as allowed. (I promise I took this picture while stopped at a light and not driving!) Continue reading Starting Over (Again)

Forced Stillness Takes a Toll on the Soul

Gala has lost all hope.

I know that sounds horrible, but that’s the only way I can describe it. Up until now, she’s done really well with her forced confinement. (To catch anyone up on why she is in a crate 24/7 except for short potty walks – Gala has multiple fractures in her jaw after being kicked by a horse. You can read the awful story here.)

Personally, if I was forced to be still and quiet for a month and everyone was taking care of all my needs, giving me a comfy bed on which to rest, and stopping by frequently for visits, I think I just might enjoy it (except the endless streaming of Parks & Rec, that might make me feel as Gala does). All that lounging and catching up on my reading and eating fancy food someone else prepared and cleaned up – what’s not to like?

I didn’t think for one minute think Gala would enjoy or even be able to endure this, but for the first two weeks she surprised me.

She was sad, but resigned. She was happy when any of us crawled in her crate with her (it’s big enough for all of us).

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When we took her out for walks, she was happy to get out, and slammed her cone into everyone looking for attention. She went back into her crate reluctantly and waited for her next walk or visit. She slurped up her gruel and watched what was happening around her intently. She seemed to sense this was ‘only for now’ and soon enough she would be back living amongst us.

But now after three weeks, she has changed. It is as if she’s given up. Continue reading Forced Stillness Takes a Toll on the Soul

Life in the Fun House

Life sure is fun when you have six lab puppies in the house. I know I say this every time, but these pups are special. They are incredibly loving and sweet. Never mind that they are beyond reasonably cute – completely off the charts of adorable.

Bug is the tiniest pup and she is beautiful, smart, and sweet and has the softest ears!

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Dart is busy, confident, fearless, and so crazy cute. Continue reading Life in the Fun House

The Value of a Dog

Gala. The million dollar dog.

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Okay, not a million, but certain the several thousand dollar dog. Between her rescue, heartworm treatment, four months of foster care, and now the broken jaw, this dog is costing some serious money.

I’ve been thinking about this fact. Why do we pour all this money into a stray dog from South Carolina? She’s just one dog, and a difficult one at that.

And then I think—it’s just money.

That’s the same thing I tell myself when my children cost a fortune or we lose money on something stupid or we need an expensive repair on the car or the house.

Because it is just money. And doing right by this dog is far more important than money.

A noble thought, but it won’t pay her bill. She’s not the most expensive dog OPH has rescued, not by far. I’ve watched much more expensive efforts be made by this organization to save a life. Not that they throw money around willy-nilly; they certainly consider each penny before it’s spent and they’ve made more than a few hard decisions. But it’s rare that money is the only consideration.

Dogs are expensive. That’s a fact that seems to slip the minds of plenty of people. And for whatever reason – ignorance or arrogance—there are plenty of people out there who don’t think a rescue dog should cost a lot. After all, a purebred dog could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. There’s a mindset that since you’re saving a dog no one wanted or possibly a dog someone threw away, you shouldn’t have to pay for it.

OPH’s adoption fee is $335 ($375 for puppies, but you get a $60 rebate after you spay/neuter). This includes spay/neuter, vaccines, wormings (with puppies this can be 6-8 times or more), and microchip, not to mention the expenses most adopters don’t consider like the original health screening and treatment, transportation, and food. And with many dogs there are other expenses.

Dug had to visit the vet and be treated for demadex mange this week.

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(And before you freak out at the word, mange, Continue reading The Value of a Dog

Fact: Horses Kick Dogs

This is the post I always dreaded.

The first week Gala was with us, I wrote about how she was prone to adventures. Excited to be here and curious about the really large dogs in our pasture, she found many ways to escape our house.

Each time we managed to catch her just in time and then reprogram everyone to lock that door, not let her on the deck, etc. On one of her early escapades, she raced for the barn area and chased the horses around the field, ignoring our pleas to come, only leaving them when she caught a hoof to her side from my elderly mare. I breathed a sigh of relief, hoped she’d learned her lesson and got much better at keeping Gala contained. I wrote: “If she had gone after one of the other horses, I’d be writing a much different post today.”

Well, three months later, here’s that much different post. She escaped again, and no, she didn’t learn a lesson that first time. Continue reading Fact: Horses Kick Dogs

Safe Harbor

Dug has arrived.

And it’s been a long time coming. (According to Ian.)

Not long after we started fostering dogs, maybe eight or ten dogs in, my youngest son began calling all our foster dogs, “Dug.”

When I asked him why, he said. “I can’t remember all the names, so they can all just be ‘Dug.’”

Dug-upDug is the dog from the movie Up. If you haven’t seen that movie – you’ve missed out. Dug is the ADD dog the main characters encounter on their journey. Dug is searching for the bird Kevin, but is easily distracted. You’ve probably heard people say, “Squirrel!” followed by a quick head turn to indicate how easily they’re distracted. They’re referencing Dug.

With each litter we’ve fostered, Ian has campaigned to name all the puppies Dug. (Dug 1, Dug 2, Dug 3, etc.)

So, when I told him we had the chance to name our next foster puppy, he insisted we name him Dug.

I agreed and he immediately tracked down his older brother and sister to tell them we were finally getting Dug!

Dug arrived Saturday morning and it seems he really did get here just in time. He is not what you would term a postcard-pretty puppy. Continue reading Safe Harbor

With Gala the party never ends

Gala, Gala, Gala. There is never a dull moment with this dog.

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On Friday, we sat on the deck having snacks and a glass of wine with the five grandparents who had arrived for the graduation of my middle child. Gala worked the crowd, slurping faces, giving full body hugs, gladly accepting the dropped slice of cheese. I kept her on a leash so that I’d be able to restrict her enthusiasm if necessary. It was all going nicely. Gala sat sweetly next to me on the couch for a picture.

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And then a moment later, she was up and over the deck railing. Her leash was looped around my wrist, as it always is since I’m well acquainted with her sudden movements. I felt the tug and then nothing. Had she slipped her collar or worse yet, had she inadvertently hung herself? Continue reading With Gala the party never ends