Way back on February 17 when Darlin’ first began labor, I looked 8 weeks ahead on the calendar and thought, “These puppies will go home on Tax day, April 15.” It was solidly winter, with snow days still to come so I couldn’t imagine that day. And then as the adventure began its wild and tragic ride, it was even harder to imagine.
But come it did. It was a happy day for the adopters and I didn’t want my sadness to dampen their excitement, so I saved my tears until I was alone, clearing out the puppy pen, stacking the towels and washing the toys. In many ways it’s felt like I’ve been holding my breath for the last 8 weeks, just trying to get these puppies to this day. And they made it. They are out of my hands.
Darlin’ is either picking up on my emotions or is also missing her pups’ presence. She is more attached to me than ever, even crying (and baying!) at the door when I take Gala outside without her. She follows me from room to room and is underfoot, leaning against me, wanting my constant attention. Continue reading Two Girls Looking for Great Homes
Nelson went home on Saturday morning.
His story illustrates how the foster dog system works when all goes well:
- Nelson is selected from the dogs in a shelter in Virginia as an adoptable dog that just needs more time than a shelter has room or funds to provide. OPH pulls him and after a vet determines there is no medical treatment needed for his eye (it was an old trauma), he is neutered, tested for heartworm (he was negative), vaccinated, and microchipped. Then he waits in a local foster home until he can catch a ride north with an OPH transport.
- I pick Nelson from a list of dogs in need of fosters, but can’t meet the transport van, so other OPH volunteers step in to pick him up and house him for two nights until I can take him. (Thanks Karie and Evan!)
- Nelson arrives here and we assimilate him into our home, walk him, feed him, and get to know him.
- I write up a bio about him saying that yes, he is housebroken and yes, he is crate-trained, and no, he isn’t a threat to cats. I write that he’s an easy-going sort of dog who is very lovable to everyone he meets but can counter-surf despite his size. Information like this is something you can’t get when you pick a dog out at a shelter. (And not to discourage ANYONE from adopting from a shelter, I’m just pointing out that there is much good about the foster system that makes an adoption match more likely to be an informed one.)
- Nelson is with us for just under two weeks. He is adopted by a family who discover him via the OPH website and have already applied and been approved to adopt a dog. They bring their current dog with them to meet him at my house, adore Nelson on sight, and take him home.
Many, many foster experiences happen just like that. But a few don’t. Continue reading Fostering By the Numbers
I don’t know why I’m surprised that Edith is taking this whole heartworm treatment deal in stride. In fact, if you stopped by to see her, you wouldn’t realize anything was amiss. She would rise to greet you with her tail going a mile-a-minute and a big smile on her face. When you reached down to pet her, she would lean into you—her regular move which I have come to think of as Edith’s way of hugging you.
This morning I felt a bit cruel, but I didn’t give her a pain med. I opened her crate and she came bounding out, running for the kitchen to see who else was up. As I walked her, she pranced along and when we passed our cat, Crash, she assumed the play position to see if he might want to go for a morning romp. I tugged on the leash and told her to settle down. Continue reading Edith, the Slayer of Heartworms
As many of you know, I was inspired to start the Edith’s Heart fundraising page by this amazing dog:
Edith is a remarkable black lab who gave birth to 12 beautiful, healthy puppies despite the fact that she had been living on the streets, was severely malnourished and heartworm positive. Edith was a wonderful mother and all those puppies are now in happy new forever homes. Edith also has a forever home waiting for her after she is treated for heartworms this week at the vet, plus recovery at our house for the next two weeks.
On GIVING TUESDAY (tomorrow November 29), two BIG things will be happening. First, Razoo will be waiving the administrative fees normally subtracted from the gifts given via their site. This means that 100% of your gifts to Edith’s Heart on Tuesday will go to OPH to treat Edith and other heartworm positive dogs!
If that isn’t incentive enough, I’m offering another! Continue reading A Great Reason to Give
Edith’s road to heartworm recovery began this week. Yesterday I persuaded her to swallow the first of 48 pills she will need to take in the next two weeks. Three a day. Not my favorite job, but she is a good sport, so far. I finally found a use for the odd sausage shaped dog treat that came in one of my foster dog bags at transport. It looks just like a people sausage. Up until now, I hadn’t been able to fathom how or why I would give it to one of my dogs. Edith is a fan. And so far, she hasn’t noticed the little green pill lodge inside the second bit of sausage I feed her.
She also got 2 heartworm preventatives to kick off her treatment. She was hesistant, but in the end she ate the preventatives when nothing better appeared. They’re reputed to taste great (but this is debatable, just ask Gracie and at least half of Edith’s puppies – it must be an acquired taste).
Edith’s energy has grown every day since weaning the puppies. She is always anxious to get out of her crate in the morning and takes at least two slippery runs around the kitchen island before we head outside for her constitutional. Outside, she attempts to engage the kitties in a little game of you-runaway-and-I’ll-chase-you. Crash indulges her on occasion, but Hermoine is old and wise and instead looks at Edith with great disdain and if Edith leans a little too close with her invitation, Hermoine swats her across the snout. Continue reading Edith
“We’re running low on puppies,” said Ian after he’d poked his head in the puppy room on Sunday and noticed we were down to three puppies.
It’s Tuesday now and the quiet in our house is remarkable. The silence rings like it did when the baby finally stopped crying and fell asleep all those long nights a decade or two ago when we were young parents.
All the puppies have gone to their forever homes. It’s just Edith and Gracie left negotiating territory and guarding their food dishes. Before the pups left, we had one last adventure together that still has me smiling every time I think of it.
With the help of Nancy (Edith’s adopter and OPH photographer) I took all twelve puppies to the vet for their well-visit last Thursday. Remembering my last puppy vet run, I’d packed the car with bags of wet rags, extra towels, garbage bags, and no one (including me) had eaten anything in four hours. We left early so we’d have time to clean up the barf and poop coated puppies that would emerge from their kennels when we finally arrived at the vet. Continue reading We’re Running Low on Puppies
“They are so much smaller than they look in the pictures!”
This is pretty much what everyone says when meeting the puppies for the first time.
To me, they’re giant poop-filled monsters compared to the little moles they were when they arrived five weeks ago. At that point most of them weighed less than a pound, with tiny George weighing just 10 ounces and Beatrix weighing the most at 1 pound 1 oz. Hemingway is now the biggest puppy. At nearly nine pounds, he’s four pounds bigger than George. According to the lab growth charts he could top out at 82 pounds! That’s a big dog. Whoopi-size.
So, to give you some scale, I took a few pictures of the puppies with random items. I used Virginia in the first two pictures because she is one of the average size puppies. In the third picture (you’ll note my attempt at free advertising in this one), I used Beatrix because in my absence there had been a rumble and she had the least amount of poop on her. Beatrix is one of the largest puppies, generally trading off second place with Zora. Continue reading Pint Size Puppies and Gallon Size Hearts