The State of Our Pack

I owe you an update.

From my perspective, I’ve been to the moon and back this past month emotionally. Between losing my precious pup Frankie and witnessing all that I saw in Tennessee, our foster dogs have been an afterthought, at least in terms of writing. Yet they’ve been here all along demanding care and attention, an anchor preventing me from being washed away by the sadness. So here’s what’s happening with all of them.

Thelma was spayed this week. She is really coming into her own as a puppy herself. She’s a serious chewer (and I have yet to forgive her for chewing my favorite Dansko clogs to ruins while my oldest was in charge of dogs during my recent trip).

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She loves to play with Flannery, constantly instigating the next wrestling match. Before the surgery, we were up to walking two miles together and working on leash manners. Now she is sidelined and wearing a cone because she won’t leave her incision alone.

I’ve said all along that as soon as she becomes adoptable she’ll be gone in a flash. They don’t come much nicer than Thelma. She loves everyone she meets – people and dogs of all kinds. She is gentle and quiet (the only dog who doesn’t verbally assault the poor milkman each week).

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She is crate trained and now that we treated the floor with an enzyme cleaner she no longer (fingers crossed) pees in the kitchen next to the door where pretty much every other foster dog has peed. Add to that she is young and pretty and the perfect size (just under 40 pounds). So, yup, she is already adoption pending and will hopefully soon go home with the delightful couple she met at the adoption event last weekend.

Flannery is still….Flannery.

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Still busy, still bustling, still my constant shadow, and still nipping. I’m forever saying, “Don’t touch the little black one, she bites,” everywhere we go, even though she doesn’t always bite. Telling people that she “doesn’t usually break the skin” does little to comfort them. And the frustrating part is that she LOVES people. She launches herself at everyone who comes in our door or she meets on the street. So why she nips them is a mystery for the ages. She doesn’t nip us and all of my children adore her – maybe more because she is so quirky and maybe because she doesn’t bite us. Brady and Addie are scheming to adopt her the moment one of them has their own apartment. They appreciate quirky.

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Because Flannery is so eerily smart, understands English better than my children at times, and is as eager to please as an Encyclopedia salesman, I’ve signed her up to go to agility training. We start tomorrow. I’m excited, although a little worried that I’ve never been able to teach her to wait or stay and I know from my experience with Frankie that those are two skills she will need as she won’t be the only dog in the class.

I’m hopeful that this will be Flannery’s ‘thing’, that she’ll excel and maybe it will even be the key to finding her family. Having jumped into the world of agility this year, I’ve noticed that agility people are fine with quirky dogs. I have fantasies of Flannery being so good that someday I’ll watch her on the AKC agility trials on TV and say, “I knew her when….”

Daisy has come such a long, long way, and yet she still has no applications. She’s a beautiful dog and very happy and relaxed around me, and finally, around Nick. She is affectionate and silly and her zoomies are dangerous. At fifty pounds, she can knock me over if I get in the way (so far, I’ve managed to stay out of the way) and she doesn’t corner well.

In so many ways, she is highly adoptable – she is sweet and good with people, even while men still cause her to become anxious. She displays this anxiety by picking up her favorite object (there’s a regular rotation, it’s been a plastic elbow pipe, a puppy teething ring, and lately is a dog bone that she licked all the peanut butter out of) and pacing large circles in the yard or kitchen.

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Sometimes fearful dogs can become aggressive, but not Daisy. She will hide and she may run at the sight of men, but she has never growled or shown any sign of aggression towards people. She truly wants to be loved and deserves her own family. I have no doubt when she finds them, she will become a happy shadow following her ‘mom’ everywhere and savoring snuggle time.

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Daisy is doing great on the leash and will happily walk for miles and miles. She doesn’t react to other dogs we pass as we go. On most Wednesdays, I take her to my friend Gina’s house so we can practice walking in a busy neighborhood and she has become an old pro at that, not even startling at blowers or generators or work trucks anymore. We’ve practiced meeting people while we’re out and about, and on some of our adventures, we practice going into other people’s houses because Daisy is a little anxious about strange places. She’s only ever been inside our house, Susan’s house (which we carried her into), and the vet’s office (where surprisingly she walked right in).

As I said, she’s ready. She just needs someone who will take a chance on her. She has so many fans. One of her fans has sponsored a portion of her adoption fee and another has donated a voucher for training which her adopter will receive. Now what we need is an adopter!

So that’s the current status of my pack. I don’t plan to add to the pack any time soon. My heart needs a rest.

If you haven’t already, I’d love it if you could take a gander at the blog I created with my son Ian to chronicle our adventures in western Tennessee shelters and dog pounds. We hope it can become a site that raises awareness about the current state of shelter dogs in our rural south. I remain convinced that it isn’t that people don’t care—it’s that they don’t know. Please help me tell them.

The blog is WhoWillLetTheDogsOut.org and there is also a Facebook and Instagram page by that name.

One last thing – Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs is on sale RIGHT NOW through Amazon (kindle version only) for $1.99. Hope you’ll grab a copy and spread the word!

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to know more about my blogs and books, visit CaraWrites.com or subscribe to my occasional e-newsletter.

If you’d like to know more about the book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, visit AnotherGoodDog.org, where you can find more pictures of the dogs from the book (and some of their happily-ever-after stories), information on fostering, and what you can do right now to help shelter animals! You can also purchase a signed copy or several other items whose profits benefit shelter dogs!

If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more pictures and videos of my foster dogs past and present, be sure to join the Another Good Dog Facebook group.

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to comment here on the blog, email carasueachterberg@gmail.com or connect with me on Facebooktwitter, or Instagram.

 Best,

 Cara

Released August 2018 from Pegasus Books and available now

Another Good Dog cover

 

Published by

Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and occasional cowgirl who lives on a hillside farm in Southern York County, PA. You can find information about my books and all my writing adventures on my website CaraWrites.com.

12 thoughts on “The State of Our Pack”

  1. I just adopted a very scared, abused/neglected dog from a rescue group and called him Lucky. He’s about 1 1/2 years old. Just discovered he has serious hip dysplasia, so I am researching treatment options. I am hoping he will turn out to be as sweet as your Daisy. My heart still breaks thinking about Frankie but I am glad you have your rescue work, your writing and most importantly your family!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My little Bella has hip dysplasia. I was hoping to avoid surgery and so far she’s doing OK with a monthly catrophen injection. She might need surgery at some stage but for now the catrophen is working.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am glad to see you waiting on taking anything else in. We all need some time for hearts and souls to heal so we can go forth and do some more good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad that your pack and human family are doing well. If you’ve continued posting updates on Daisy on Facebook, can you copy and paste them in a future blog post when you get a minute? I enjoyed reading those. Glad she’s made so much progress. How are you able to find houses to go into on your walks with her? I assume these are all people that you know besides Susan and Gina? Keep doing your bit for man’s best friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am a bit behind – there haven’t been many Daisy updates though, but I’ll try to do a roundup soon. Her situation seems to have stagnated for now, although summer is going to be tough for her as I’ll be away so much. I’ve been trying to pick houses where she can enter through or near the kitchen, so it seems familiar since that’s how she enters our house usually. It’s also helpful it the person can walk with me first and then we go in together. That’s how we got her in Tanis and Gina’s houses. Once she masters going into familiar people’s houses, we’ll try going to someone new’s house.

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      1. I’m sure Daisy will do fine when you’re away. It sounds like she’s getting used to more people in your circle of friends, many of whom I assume live near you. She’ll get there. And hey, at least she’s content outside, provided, I’m sure, that it’s not too hot out. Thank goodness for air-conditioning.

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