Our Gated Community

Our little pack has settled in. Brady calls them my entourage, as all four dogs—our Frankie and Gracie, plus fosters Flannery and Hula, follow me from room to room. As I sit at my desk now, Hula is lounging in her crate behind me, Gracie has claimed the sun spot on the carpet near the door, and Frankie and Flannery are squeezed together on the dog bed.

Normally, we live in a gated community. One baby gate sections off the hallway to the puppy room, in addition to the fence that fills the doorway of the puppy room (the flannel sheet hanging over it traps the heat inside and keeps the room warmer, it also allows the pups to get away with all manner of naughtiness).

These gates will come down in just a week and a half when all three pups go to their forever homes.

Another baby gate separates the kitchen from the rest of the house.

 

This is where our adult foster dogs usually reside. That gate will remain closed until Continue reading Our Gated Community

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

I’m Betting on Hound

I have only five days left with these puppies.

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And depending on the weather that will go by in a flash or it will seem like forever.

These babes have decidedly outgrown their tiny puppy room. We finally got them outside for some extended time and they loved it. I invited my favorite photographer to stop over and she got some amazing shots of these pups.

Before I share a few of my favorites, I need to give a shout out to Nancy Slattery! She donates extensive hours to OPH photographing pups and then uploading and editing and posting the pictures to help us get dogs adopted. My pups already have adopters, but I asked her here because a) I knew she’d love to come play with them and b) I wanted these pictures for an upcoming project and c) I haven’t gotten the chance to hang out with her in a while, so it was the perfect ruse.

Nancy brought her daughter Casey with her as assistant lighting director and Casey held a remote flash which is partly how these pictures came out so great. Mostly they came out so great because Nancy is Nancy. (AND if you are ever looking for a professional photographer for your own dogs or yourself, ask me for her contact info. Nancy took my headshot long before I discovered her gift with pet photography. She’s quick, talented, and very reasonably priced.)

Despite my grumbling about the messes they make, these five weeks have flown by and their happy energy and adorableness have gone a long way towards easing us out of the winter that never ends.

Early on, I made a few bad guesses as to their breed, after all they were fuzzy, fat, and delectable; they could have been anything. They are labeled blackmouth cur, and that seems likely—as one person commented on their pictures, they look as if their tails are dipped in chocolate.

The other breed I’m becoming more convinced we’re dealing with here, though, is bloodhound.

Here’s a photo of bloodhound puppies at four weeks from the Fishing Forum next to a photo of a few Chocolate Factory pups at four weeks: Continue reading I’m Betting on Hound

Cuteness/Poop Overload

If you’re in the Another Good Dog facebook group, you know that these current puppies are unreasonably adorable. I can’t stop posting pictures, particularly of Augustus Gloop, whose wrinkles are beyond amazing.

Continue reading Cuteness/Poop Overload

It’s Hard, Every Time (but that’s not the point)

“Isn’t it hard to give them away?”

If you foster dogs, this is a question tossed at you on a regular basis. I hear it so often, that I thought I’d just take a moment to set the record straight.

Yes, it is hard to give them away. Every time. Sometimes it’s harder than others.

For instance, I won’t miss cleaning up after twelve puppies, but I will miss each of these precious pups who I’ve come to know and love. I will miss George’s impish ways and Zora’s constant need for hugs. I will miss Louisa May’s soft, soft coat and the quiet way Eudora leans in to me wanting my attention but not demanding it like the others. I will miss all these pups. Just like I miss all the dogs and puppies that came before them.

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So, yes, it is very hard to give them away. But I know when they arrive at my house that the day is coming when I will watch them leave. I don’t ever think of these dogs as ‘mine.’ I think of the time they have with me as a sort of a grace period. It’s my gift to them- a safe place to get their feet underneath themselves and know love and security so they are ready to go to their forever homes.

In the beginning, fostering for us was about having fun with a new dog, we even flirted with keeping one or another. Continue reading It’s Hard, Every Time (but that’s not the point)

Puppies Ruin Your Life

After over six weeks with these pups, here’s the thing that is getting to me—there are so many of them. Yes, yes, I know. I knew there were twelve when I picked them up. But back then they were tiny. Their little shiny bodies could be held in one hand.

Having fostered a litter of nine puppies last spring, I really thought that twelve wasn’t that many more.

It’s just that it is.

Twelve is a lot.

Adjustments have to be made. Not just enlarging the pen, but in terms of equipment and strategies. You can’t feed twelve puppies with a couple dog food bowls. There would be a riot and little Georgie might get trampled. So, instead, we use a plastic veggie tray which is large and round with six sections, plus another three section serving tray. (Don’t worry— I probably won’t use either again at our parties!)

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A water bowl also won’t work for twelve puppies, so instead I use a big, tall-sided plastic chip and dip tray, filling the chip area with water so that six or ten puppies can drink all at once. Puppies tend to do everything enmass. (Again – I promise you probably won’t see this dish at our shindigs!) The chip/dip tray works great unless the kennel attendant steps on a side of it. If that happens the room is flooded and the freshly laid puppy pads are soaked. The residents find that to be a fun situation. Continue reading Puppies Ruin Your Life