Testing My Assumptions About My Canine Good Citizens

Assuming anything about your dog is probably a mistake.

(Same goes for most people.)

When Gomer arrived, he was a manic, frenzied force, racing around my kitchen on his noisy toenails, tongue hanging out, pausing only to leap on any persons who happened by.

We took him for a walk with Frankie and he lunged at him over and over, snarling and yipping and frothing at the mouth. And when he was on his own, he attacked the leash itself.

I tried to contain him in the kitchen, and he leaped over the gate to follow me.

I thought, Continue reading Testing My Assumptions About My Canine Good Citizens

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Progress Can Be Noisy

Our house is noisy.

Well, our house is normally noisy, but this past weekend, especially so.

Gomer has much to say, particularly about anyone playing without him.

Plus, two lovely ladies moved into the puppy room on Saturday. They are surprisingly quiet, but their movements are monitored by the other three canines in the house, and their fondness for squeaky toys pushes several of those canines over the edge.

The dawn chorus is really something. Yesterday Brady remarked that Gracie has a very nice quiet bark. That’s the point we’ve been driven to—we qualify all of the barking.

Frankie is LOUD. For such a gentle guy, he sounds ferocious.

Gomer is shrill. His barks are laced with excitement, he just cannot miss out on any party.

Which leaves Gracie (who initiates almost every choir rehearsal). Her bark is low and steady and I’ve begun to wonder if she doesn’t just start barking to get the other dogs in trouble.

 

DSC_1883Okay, okay, I’ll tell you about the new puppies! (it’s always about the puppies with you people!) Continue reading Progress Can Be Noisy

Puppy Play Yard

My husband Nick and I are a pretty good team. I’m the ‘idea’ person and he does all the work.

This weekend, though, Frankie and I were his helpers on a project that has been on my wishlist ever since we began fostering.

I’ve been angling for a ‘dog fence’ for quite some time. Our little hillside farm has six acres, plenty of room for a dog to run, but those acres are surrounded by farmer’s field, woods, one testy neighbor, and a road. It’s rare the foster dog (like Hops) that I can allow off-leash.

I worry too much about losing a dog in the woods, the endless cornstalks, the gun-owning neighbor’s property, or chasing the goats across the road. (The goats live in an invisible fence which makes them readily accessible to the dogs. I’m pretty certain it’s only a matter of time before the wolf or coyotes that have been spotted in our area nab them.)

Ever since Frankie discovered the vultures on the top fence line, Continue reading Puppy Play Yard

Adopter’s Remorse?

You’ve heard of buyer’s remorse?

Every now and again I’m pretty sure some of us have adopter’s remorse.

Not that I don’t LOVE my Frankie. Not that I wouldn’t adopt him AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. He is my wubba-bubba. I can get teary just thinking about the fact that someday he will die.

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And yet…. Continue reading Adopter’s Remorse?

The Difference Ten Pounds (and Two Months) Make

Frankie has another new puppy – only this puppy is ten pounds bigger and at least ten times more trouble than little Zander.

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Hops is a gangly, sweet, goofy boy who somehow already seems bigger than when he got here on Saturday. He’s forty pounds, but his feet are so big he looks like he’s wearing galoshes, so I’d say that even though he’s six months old, he’s far from finished growing.

He routinely runs into things and can’t get his long legs out of his own way. He’s labeled a lab mix, but looks like he was put together with spare parts from a handful of breeds possibly including shepherd.

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He’s in that awkward adolescence phase, tripping over himself, with a loose discombobulated swagger that makes me smile and think of teenagers trying (and failing) to look cool.

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Nothing on the counters is safe. Yesterday he polished off the cream cheese, sampled the newspaper, and [insert frustrated shriek and several curse words] broke Continue reading The Difference Ten Pounds (and Two Months) Make

Sometimes it’s Easy

Sometimes it’s really easy to foster. Sometimes it’s not.

Willow has been one of our easiest foster dogs to date. Absolutely housebroken, wonderfully crate-trained, not overly-chewy (except stuffed animals). She loves our visitors, tolerates visiting puppies, and listens in an I-will-do-anything-you-ask-especially-if-you-have-a-treat kind of way.

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Little Zander is also one of the easiest foster puppies we’ve ever had. A house-broken, mild-mannered, relatively calm puppy who’s worst habit is his penchant for shoes.

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So, I didn’t hesitate to leave my 15-year-old in charge of the foster dogs, plus Gracie and Frankie overnight last Friday. Nick and I headed to New Jersey to see our daughter perform in a benefit showcase. We would stay over and pack her up the next day and bring her home from college.

I left Ian a list of instructions and even measured out the dogs’ meals and labeled them so he wouldn’t be confused.

No worries, right? Continue reading Sometimes it’s Easy