People Save Dogs, but Dogs Can Also Save People

Sharing Gala’s situation last week triggered an avalanche of reaction. Many, many suggestions for trainers, meds, herbal supplements, etc. And more than that—lots of support and encouragement, which is maybe what I needed most. Sadly, it did not trigger any adoption applications.

I want to be clear, I was not suggesting that it is time to euthanize Gala. I don’t believe she’s out of options. And I ABSOLUTELY believe she can be successful and happy in the right adoptive home. What drove my frustration and sadness is that I’m pretty certain our foster home is no longer helping her. Her anxiety is up, not down. Yes, she has improved in many areas – she is better on the leash, she is accepting of her crate, she knows commands like sit, stay, and come. She is not trying to escape our house.

In other ways, though, I feel she has peaked and is regressing. Her reactivity to people has increased, and I believe that’s a combination of her becoming attached to us (and feeling she needs to protect us), and my nervousness when she meets someone new. I always worry how she will react. Gala is an extremely sensitive dog. And Gala loves me beyond reason. This combination becomes combustible when we are in public places where her anxiety is already ramped up.

This realization is what drove me to tears. I wrote that I don’t think I can save her, but I didn’t mean that someone else couldn’t. Continue reading People Save Dogs, but Dogs Can Also Save People

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I Don’t Think I Can Save Her

I’ve started and restarted this post again and again. I like to be positive and helpful and inspiring. I really don’t want to be a bummer on your day. But today, finding a positive note isn’t easy. And maybe that’s a message worth writing. Fostering isn’t all roses and puppy breath. It can be hard and it can be heartbreaking.

When we set off on our fostering adventure, my biggest fear was that we would get a dog that would never be adopted.

Lately, I feel as if we are living that fear. Yes, yes, I tell myself, Gala’s family will come. They always do.

But for now, for this week, it doesn’t seem evenly remotely possible.

When I write about Gala, I’ve tried to focus on the positive Continue reading I Don’t Think I Can Save Her

Best of the Blog

Hi blog readers!

I’m traveling in England and Cyprus this week, but I thought I’d share a few of the best moments of the blog this year.

Of course Fruitcake takes the cake (so to speak).

Here’s a post explaining his Swimmer Puppy Syndrome.

And here are a few pictures of Fruitcake (now Brodie) from his adopter, showing a very different dog nearly a year later. Continue reading Best of the Blog

What it Takes to Raise an Awesome Dog

Frankie and Buford have become bestbuds.

I know Frankie will miss Buford when he finds his forever family. And I’m sure that will be soon, because this is one awesome puppy.

He’s my sweet little shadow in the house, regularly nudging me with his big nose (think Spud McKenzie) asking gently for my attention. I traveled to Hanover with Buford for an adoption event and he slept quietly the whole drive which was hilly and long. At the event, he was calm and friendly—quite a difference from the other overly excitable puppy attending the event. They really don’t make much nicer pups than this. Somebody is going to score bigtime with this adoption.

I know having dogs and puppies coming and going may seem a bit disruptive emotionally for Frankie, but it’s my greatest hope that instead of being a negative experience for Frankie’s little heart, it’ll be a positive one. He’ll discover that there are LOTS of dogs to love and that even though I might be paying a lot of attention to the latest visitor, that dog is just that – a visitor. I’m hopeful it will make Frankie a welcoming, confident, friendly dog who is always ready to make a new friend.

Because that is exactly NOT the kind of dog Gracie is.

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Upon meeting any new dog, Gracie’s assumption is Continue reading What it Takes to Raise an Awesome Dog

Home, Sweet Home

After a long weekend of driving in the rain and being on my feet talking to strangers (and trying to be charming), it has been nice to be surrounded by dogs once again. They’re very honest about what they want from me – food, squeaky toys, and my undivided attention and affection.

Buford (Bronson) basically doubles Frankie. Same size. Same energy. Same happy-happy. Same need for love and attention.

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They spend their days wearing each other out with their playing (which was the secondary reason for fostering Buford, beyond saving a life). They vie for attention, constantly one-upping each other much like real boys. Sometimes their exchanges disintegrate into modified brawls. And sometimes they end when Gala has heard enough and barks at them. Her loud voice sends them both running for cover.

Here’s a typical scene: Continue reading Home, Sweet Home

Dog-Saving Justice League

Finally!  A new foster pup is on his way to us! Bronson (or Buford as he was called in his previous foster home) is a black and white colored lab/hound/possibly Catahoula mix depending on whose report you read. Any way you mix him, he’s pretty adorable, even in a bad shelter picture, see?

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Just last night, Frankie snuggled with Nick watching the Eagles win, softly gnawing on his arm, and Nick said, “He needs somebody his own size to chew on.”

Gracie has no patience for insistent puppies, and here’s the only way he can safely play with Gala (who LOVES him beyond reason or restraint): Continue reading Dog-Saving Justice League

Dog-hearted People

It feels weird not to have a foster dog. That’s what this has come down to—my normal is extra temporary dogs running underfoot. Yes, Gala is still here, but as of today, she’s officially been here six months, so she’s less of a foster dog and more of a long-term boarder.

I’m torn about asking for a new foster dog. The only dogs I can take with Gala around are puppies, but I’m traveling a fair amount this month and asking my family to take care of Gracie, Gala, Frankie, and a few random puppies who poop, might be pushing it.

And yet….I really want to be doing something. Continue reading Dog-hearted People