And Then There Was One…

IMG_1857One puppy is much simpler than six puppies, but one puppy, believe it or not, is much noisier than six puppies. I suppose there are five other households that can verify this for me.

Homegirl is still with us. Hopefully, she will go home at the end of this week. Her almost-adopter made the very responsible and difficult decision not to adopt her at the last moment. I have to take a sidebar from this post to comment on this:

Deciding to adopt a puppy or dog is a BIG decision. It’s not something you should make on a whim or simply because a particular canine is irresistible or because you fear no one else will take this dog. It’s a 10-15 or more year commitment. It should not be entered in to lightly – for your sake or the dog’s sake.

When things don’t work out, as in the case of our beloved Carla who was responsibly owner-surrendered after four years, it breaks a lot of hearts. I can only speak from the dog’s side (although having gotten to know Carla, I am certain there were plenty of tears on the other end, too). Carla mourned for nearly a month. She was lost and sad, and while her story ended well, I’m sure she is more cautious in ladling out her trust in her new home and won’t feel completely secure there for some time.

Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing a bit, but I do know she had a tender soul, like most dogs, and being returned is devastating for all involved. So…..I am very happy that Homegirl’s potential adopter was smart enough to wait for the right dog for him.

Okay, back to the post at hand…. Continue reading And Then There Was One…

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No, Really, He’s a Girl!

I realize I don’t have to confess this. And it’s going to make me sound like an idiot. But….this is just too funny not to write about. And I’m not worried about my reputation. I figure this will lower expectations of me as a competent foster, so if I do anything at all right from now on, I’ll only look good.

So, let me tell you.

Homeboy is a girl.DSC_9292

Really.

Yes, I’ve had this puppy two weeks. And yes, I must be an idiot because I just noticed on Sunday that she doesn’t have a penis.

I’ve come up with quite a few explanations for this. Continue reading No, Really, He’s a Girl!

Thirty six Goodbyes

DSC_9554It’s going to be a tough week. For all of us. The first pups take off on Monday. Lug Nut and Jillie Bean will be relatively local, so their adopters will be able to come for them. Marzle leaves on Tuesday evening.

There will be some serious howling in the puppy pen. I know this because when I take just one pup out for a bit, everyone else cries. They’ve never been apart in their short lives, so even when it’s a separation of only a few feet, they are devastated.

I’ve been trying to help them get used to being on their own, so I take each out for a solitary adventure most days– a walk up the hill to gawk at the chickens, a snuggle in the hammock (only Boz and Lug Nut can be still enough to enjoy this), a visit to the gardens to pull a few weeds, a little time in the kitchen with me while I prepare a meal, or a half hour spent on Ian’s lap watching him play computer games.

It didn’t take long for them to enjoy the attention and forget about their siblings. They don’t rush back to the pen (except Jillie, she usually is happiest to get back). But the ones left behind – it’s a sorry sound. The howling and crying are heartbreaking.

They’ve gotten much bigger in the past two weeks, and their pen, which seemed vast at first, seems overstuffed. They shift it around while wrestling and I never know what configuration it will be in or which object they will have pulled partially through the walls (trash bag liner, coat that wasn’t hung up, pile of newspaper).

When I have the time and the help, I take them out for a tear around the screened-in porch. They love this. I thought at first I would take my laptop out there and work while they played, but that was a silly idea and I got nothing done. Their cuteness and antics were just too distracting.

(That was just three of them) Continue reading Thirty six Goodbyes

My Fostering Mistake and the Grace of OPH

One thing I really appreciate about OPH is that they treat those of us who foster with such respect. They truly assume that we are all intelligent, resourceful people who can read directions and follow instructions. I appreciate this about them, but at the same time I wish they’d micromanage me just a little, or maybe nag, just a touch of nag would be good.

Seems my inability to follow instructions means my pups are stuck with me for three extra days. Certainly I don’t mind their happy presence, but I know their adopters would much rather have them home sooner than later. Major apologies.

Want to hear my excuse? (I’m going to give it to you anyway.) Continue reading My Fostering Mistake and the Grace of OPH

The Power of a Puppy-Cam

DSC_9414Puppies are powerful. They change everything – schedules, priorities, moods.  No one can be unhappy around a puppy. There’s been a lot of smiles and laughs around this place all week.

Of course, I’m not smiling or laughing when I’m cleaning up after them, except when Marzle grabs the pee rag and takes off dragging two or three siblings along with it. That’s kind of funny. Unless they step in the poop enroute. That’s unfunny.

The puppies are a people magnet. We’ve had plenty of visitors and I’m fairly certain attendance was up at our annual fourth of July party due to the six furry guests who basked in all the attention.DSC_9412

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I think OPH should harness the power of these puppies in their fundraising. Spending as much time as I am with them, I’ve had lots of ideas.

My first thought was – Puppy rental! It seemed like a great idea. Elite Daily has a nice article on the power of puppies entitled, “Why Women Love Men with Puppies.”

Sadly, this is not a realistic possibility for many reasons, not the least of which is that puppies under 16 weeks and not fully vaccinated shouldn’t be out in public places because of the risk to their health. (All my puppies are spoken for and will be going home long before 16 weeks, so you lucky people make sure to keep them healthy by staying away from busy places!)

The restriction on public appearances means my other ideas of Puppy-Selfies and Puppy-kisses and Puppy-therapy, would probably not be a go either.

Many times visitors this past week have asked, “How can you get anything done? I’d just stand here and watch them all day.”

Honest truth – sometimes I do. They are so far beyond the realm of normal cuteness and their presence is addicting. It’s very easy for me to while away a good hour just watching them wrestle and throwing tennis balls in the pen or snuggling with a puppy on the church pew on my back porch breathing in the puppy scent and day dreaming.

Thinking about this while picking blueberries (a mindless task that takes hours), I came up with a brilliant way for OPH to use puppy magnetism to raise serious funds and awareness. Continue reading The Power of a Puppy-Cam

Carla, Oh Carla It’s Time to Go Home

I’m hesitating to write this because the last time I wrote about a dog getting adopted before it actually happened, it didn’t happen. But in the spirit of moving past my silly issue with jinxes, I’m writing anyway. (Hopefully I don’t jinx Carla. Wait, there is no such thing as a jinx, right?)

Way back with on our first foster dog Galina, I remember having this same exact moment of insight. I was frustrated and sad for Galina when one after another potential adopter didn’t pan out. Galina was with us four weeks. And when her forever family finally turned up it was clear why she’d been with us for so long and why so many potential adopters backed out – because she had to be available when her real forever family was ready for a dog. Galina’s adopters were so clearly perfect for her and she was such a perfect fit for them, it all made sense. I could see that some kind of larger plan had been hatching and that brought me peace, as it was painful to let her go after an entire month.

Carla has been here for three months! She’s truly become part of the family. We love her and treat her like our dog, even though she’s not. She’s someone else’s dog. I’ve had to tell myself that every day (well almost every day, sometimes she does get on my nerves with her barking and bigness, but only for a moment) because every day that she’s been here, I’ve had to make a conscious decision not to foster fail on her. I remind myself of all the other dogs to come. Dogs who need us. And I have held on tight to the truth that Galina’s adoption taught me – I am not the only good home for a dog. There is someone out there right now who is looking for a dog like Carla. Someone meant to have her.

The coolest part about the special someone named Carol who is adopting Carla is that Carla recognized her. Let me tell you about last Sunday when Carla and Carol met. Continue reading Carla, Oh Carla It’s Time to Go Home

Pup Overload

I’m sneaking away to write this. Everyone’s been cleaned up after, watered, fed, snuggled, cleaned up after again and now they’re having morning playtime which sounds like the soundtrack from How to Train Your Dragon – lots of odd noises, shrieks, barks, and crashing the sides of the pen.

DSC_9254So first let me tell you this is a lot of work. If you think it’s all snuggling and crazy antics and puppy breath, you’re right. But it’s also a lot of cleaning the same space over and over again, bathing puppies that play in poop, laundry like there’s a newborn in the house, and washing hands (again and again and again….).

I really want to tell you the BIG news, but first I have to get the puppy distraction out of the way.

So, they are cute. Crazy cute. And seriously, is there anything like puppy breath? Or puppy snuggles? Or six puppies squealing over the sight of you and clamoring for your attention. It’s only been a few days and I know I will cry when every one of these puppies go. (Well, maybe not Marzle….he’s the source of every bit of trouble they create.)

I’ll brag on them just a bit. Continue reading Pup Overload