Record Breaking Dog

Gala has broken the record.

Longest foster dog we’ve ever had.

At nearly five months here, Gala easily surpassed  Whoopi, Ginger, and Carla,  our other longest fosters.

She’s also the dog with fewest applications. (Currently that would be zero applications.)

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In the past five months, she’s only had four interested potential adopters. All changed their minds. None ever met her in person. Continue reading Record Breaking Dog

She’s BACK…..(+how YOU can rescue dogs with paintings and wine!)

Now that Gala is back in working order, she’s making up for lost time.

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Her jaw has recovered so fully, that she’s been able to destroy a dog toy we’ve had for over two years (a friend sent it to us after our very first foster chewed through our house), several beanie babies (how these missed the goodwill pile is beyond me – I’ll be vacuuming up those tiny beans for weeks), tennis balls, pencils, and anything that Gracie touches (she most especially wants Gracie’s stuffed fox and we’ve all had to rescue it from the clutches of Jaws several times now).

Despite the relentless heat, we’re back to running, walking fast, hiking in the woods, and visiting the fox holes in the field above our pasture. Thanks to the loan of an Easy Walk Harness, we’re even more under-control.

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Unless the Blue Heron is in the creek and then nothing stops her. Gala is a serious bird dog. This is one of the reasons I think she might make a good frisbee dog – she’s always looking up. Sometimes we scare up a flock of finches that hang out at my neighbor’s barn and she will leap vertically in the air, certain she could catch one if I’d just let go of that pesky leash. Gala is great company. There is certainly never a dull moment.

Gala sits on the bed behind my desk as I work, always ready to distract:

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Gala does eventually settle, but she finds reading on the couch just a bit too boring: Continue reading She’s BACK…..(+how YOU can rescue dogs with paintings and wine!)

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