One Dog, Two Dog, Three Dog….Four?

imagejpeg_0Texas and Tennessee have landed! What sweet boys these two are. Couldn’t find better mannered guests. (Well, guests who were housebroken might be better…) They are gentle and eager to please. They watch my (and everyone else’s) every move. Sadly, they both cower when anyone raises a hand above their waist, moves quickly, or picks up anything large (Ian has to keep his baseball bat hidden). I am guessing not every human has handled them kindly. No matter, they seem ready to give just about anyone a chance, loving on every person who walks through my door.

Texas - isn't he a stunner!
Texas – isn’t he a stunner!

These guys seem grateful for every kindness thrown their way. They’re like that visiting relative who is always saying, “Please don’t got to any trouble….really, I’m fine.”  They still haven’t figured out what a treat is and Texas kept running into glass doors, so they seem a bit new to this living-in-a-house-and-being-loved thing. But they are both smart as whips, so they are picking up very quickly on everything, even the don’t-pee-in-the-house rule. We’ve outfitted them with “male dog wraps” which sounds kind of cosmopolitan but is actually a glorified diaper. Male Dog Wraps are my new favorite thing, ever.

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Here’s Tennessee modeling the latest in dog wrap fashion – a nice gray nylon number.

It’s very good that T&T are such model guests because the house is overflowing with dogs. T&T arrived late Friday night and at 8am on Saturday morning Frank returned to us. He could not make the adjustment to his new home and his wonderful family. It just wasn’t the right fit. I know it was a heartbreaking week for both Frank and his adopters. It was very hard to hear the stories from afar, only able to offer advice when what I wanted to do was run down there and move in and help all of them. In the end, they made the difficult decision to return Frank to OPH and Nick and I knew immediately he had to come back to us. We are wrestling with that decision – the one I said I wouldn’t write about again in this blog. I’ve thought all along that it was up to us to choose a dog, but I’m beginning to wonder if it isn’t actually up to the dog to choose us. We shall see. Meanwhile, we are loving on Frank and he has happily assimilated right back into our world and is currently lying behind me watching every word I type (and hopefully not reading this and thinking his little plan worked…). Continue reading One Dog, Two Dog, Three Dog….Four?

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What’s a Little More Madness?

Whew. It’s been a crazy month. Sleep is tough, my mind is always spinning. Food isn’t easy either, since my stomach is constantly churning. So much to do that most days I’m overwhelmed like a deer in the headlights and simply surf Facebook and wander around the gardens trying to figure out where to begin. Not much gets done. Sigh. I know it’ll get better. The kids start school this week and the college bound kiddo departs next week. Life will resume. I’m ready for that.

I long for my solitary days alone with the computer and the cats. And I miss Frank. He was such constant quiet company these last few weeks. He felt like my body guard and devoted friend, never leaving my side and always happy to listen to my ramblings. Such loyalty is a rare and beautiful thing. I’ve been praying fervently that he’s forgiven me for letting him go and discovering a new love in Margarita and Terry.

I’m sure it’s a confusing time. That’s another tricky aspect of fostering. You love on these dogs and they grow attached. And then you send them off to their new home, never to see you again. It must be confusing and maybe a little painful for many of them, especially when they’ve been with you more than a week or two. It’s a necessary step in the foster care process and probably for many dogs it’s a healing step. It allows them to catch their breath, accept a little affection, and get their feet back under them before launching into their real lives. I get that it’s unavoidable, but I still wish there was some way to explain it to the dogs so they understand whats going on and don’t think I’m one more person deserting them. It does help to see the pictures that many adopters send a few weeks later of a happy dog who’s long forgotten me.

I just wish I didn’t get so attached. I’m serious about my purpose here and I know going in that these dogs are not staying. You’d think I could do a better job of keeping my heart in check. I wish I could stop falling in love time after time. It’s quite a work out emotionally.

My new goal in fostering is to move my dogs fast. No more dogs hanging around endearing themselves to me. This Friday my two new boys are arriving on transport and I will be hotly advertising them the moment their sweet little feet hit my porch.

The energy level in this house is near manic lately with school starting for two kiddos, my oldest getting packed for college (and feeling the need to fill our house daily with a pack of his friends), plus my book’s launch. So why not add a little more madness to the mix? Two border collies under the age of two should do the trick….

My next guests are Texas and Tennessee.

Tennessee
Tennessee
Texas
Texas

Handsome, aren’t they? Be prepared for WAY too many pictures and posts. Everyone wants a border collie!

Taking two seems especially crazy, but as they appear to be related, it felt like the right thing to do. I purchased a leash divider in the hopes that I will be able to walk them both at the same time. In my previous life, I foxhunted and remember the hounds happily coupled together. I’m envisioning T&T having the same experience. Yes, this may be another of my naive fantasies, but I’m going to give it a go. (I promise to post pictures, even if they’re embarrassing!) Their combined weight is pretty substantial, but I’m counting on them countering each other and hopefully never truly setting off for the same hills at the same time.

There are no OPH events near me this weekend, so if the dual leash idea pans out, we’ll hit the Farmers Markets, baseball practice, soccer practice, pet store– anywhere I can get them out and available. If necessary, I’ll bribe a kid to hold a leash. My goal is two adoptions one week from Saturday.

And in the meantime, I’ll try very hard not to lose my heart or my footing.

Frank with his new Mommy and Daddy
Frank with his new Mommy and Daddy

A Day in the Life

My days are still blurring together on this publishing roller coaster, but Frank is steady as can be. He did prove that he is a real dog and not the Super Dog I thought him to be…..

He rolled in horse manure. Covered himself in it actually. Proving himself to be a true dog. Fun times.

And then a group of deer ran across the road in front of us and he scrambled to the end of his leash in a hurry to join that parade as opposed to staying with me on our happy run. I’m relieved to say that all these years of running with Gracie have prepared me to hold tight while a dog levitates at a full-run (ala Wylie Coyote) on the end of my retractable leash.

So, yes, Frank is mortal. Sigh. He’s still my favorite dog ever, though.

Here’s what it’s like to be Frank….

6am wake up call. He waits patiently in his crate, thumping his tale against the wire sides, occasionally emitting a high pitch whine that you would swear couldn’t possibly have come from him.

DSC_9782 Continue reading A Day in the Life

Thanking the Timing of the Doggy gods (and possibly exploiting Our Relationship)

DSC_9717It’s been a busy week. It’s been a good week. I’ve been grateful to have a dog like Frank around. A dog who doesn’t require my constant attention, yet is always ready to give me his.

Frank is getting healthier by the day. He’s almost finished his full course of meds and things seem to be back in working order. He’s settling in at a decent weight and doesn’t respond to food like a dog on a deserted island anymore. Yay.

Frank’s going to hang around our B&B for another ten days until his new forever family is able to make the drive up here to pick him up. We don’t mind one bit because, as I said, he’s easy to have around, a pleasure even.IMG_1915

Somehow I think the doggy gods knew I needed a coast these weeks in terms of foster dogs. This week my first novel was published. So, in many ways, my dreams have come true.

I’ve been writing for years, getting published in magazines, newspapers, anthologies, blogs, websites, even my own independently published book that grew out of my blog and workshops, but being a novelist…this is what pretty much every writer is working towards.

And it happened! But it’s a crazy time to be a first time novelist. The publishing industry is tight and getting your name up on the shelves with the established writers is not an easy task.

It requires lots of time and attention. Much like some foster dogs, but instead of cleaning up messes, concocting special meals, and walking endless loops around the yard, I am working the social networks, writing guest blogs, pitching libraries and bookstores, and all the while, getting my next book written.

Oh, and then there are these people who live in my house and expect to be fed and chauffeured and even, on occasion, to have clean laundry. Continue reading Thanking the Timing of the Doggy gods (and possibly exploiting Our Relationship)

Stuck With Each Other

DSC_9641The decision has been made. Frank is not staying. Well, he’s staying for a few more weeks, but then he’s off to a terrific new life with a wonderful new family.

After much debate and waffling, we made the decision not to adopt Frank. We love him, maybe too much, for which we will decidedly pay in a week or so, but we cannot keep him.

The biggest reason is my darling personal dog whom I malign on a regular basis on this blog. So for the record – I love Gracie. I do. But she drives me nuts and she is everything I don’t want in a dog – disloyal, disobedient, disrespectful, and for lack of a better word – dumb. But, she’s our dog. We’ve had her since she was a puppy. The kids love her. This is her home. Gracie is going nowhere (even though I do occasionally flirt with the idea of switching pictures on the OPH website and giving Gracie away to an unsuspecting adopter….). Continue reading Stuck With Each Other

Fabulous Frank

DSC_9637So, you may have noticed that I haven’t been quick to write about Frank. I haven’t even updated his profile on the OPH website.  I’ll get to it, I will. But right now I’m still humoring this crazy debate between my head and my heart about Frank.

Frank is awesome. And I know as soon as I start writing about his awesomeness, some wonderful person is gonna want to adopt him and I’m still trying to figure out if we are that awesome person.

I’m not going to foster fail. I’ve said that. Again and again. Heck, if I was going to foster fail it would have been with Carla, not some skinny, funny looking, boy dog with crazy eyes.

My husband is pressuring me. He loves this dog. He even said last night, “What if I put in the application and he’s my dog?”

But he isn’t his dog.

Frank loves me. Yesterday when I left him for the first time, he nearly went through a window screen to follow me. Continue reading Fabulous Frank

A Friend for Gracie (also MIB’s most powerful alien)

The last puppy left tonight, but the next transport is tomorrow! You’d think after four weeks of puppy poop, I’d be ready for a break. I am, but I owe Gracie.

Remember Gracie, my personal dog? You may have noted that not a word has been written about her during the entire puppy odyssey.

That’s because Gracie hated the puppies. This is how she greeted them. I know she only looks disgusted, but I promise she was growling all manner of meanness at them.

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And it didn’t get any better. Whenever she passed the puppy room (a space she avoided whenever possible), she snarled for good measure. On the occasion when she actually ventured into the puppy room, she let loose with a full attack sound. Which would be worrisome except Gracie has always been all bark and no bite. Whenever we are running and pass a fenced dog or a stray cat, she flips to the kill setting in her vocal options, but if we come upon a loose dog or something larger than a cat, say a deer or on one occasion a skunk, she runs for the hills with her tail between her legs. She’s a total poser.

I have no doubt had I ever let the puppies loose to meet Gracie, she would have been overwhelmed and cowered under the coffee table.

We kept Homegirl mostly in the kitchen this past week, separated from Fang, I mean Gracie, by a sadly sagging baby gate supported by Addie’s mellophone case. (We originally propped up a board to keep Gracie from seeing the puppies, but it was scratching the wall, so we resorted back to the pathetic broken baby gate.) Either dog could easily take down that gate, but instead, Homegirl, sat sweetly on one side whining to see Gracie, who occasionally popped up on the other side of the gate to threaten her with every kind of bodily harm. Homegirl, either because she is a puppy or doesn’t speak Gracie’s language, only got more excited to see Gracie, ostensibly saying, “I’m so HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY to meet you too! I wish this gate didn’t keep us apart!” Continue reading A Friend for Gracie (also MIB’s most powerful alien)