Unsung Rescue Heroes & A New Training Tool

I’d never want to be an adoption coordinator. Seems like an exhausting, frustrating, thankless job.

As the foster mom, I get all the glory for taking care of the puppy or dog in question. But the adoption coordinator is the one who has screened the applications, asked the hard questions, gone over the extensive adoption contract (for the bazillionth time), and made the final decision. Not having firsthand experience, I could be wrong, but it seems like ACs put in hours of effort for each adoption, and for a litter that is tenfold.

Puppy adopters are like new parents – they have lots of questions, good ones, silly one, odd ones, but lots. I get a few of those, but the AC for my litter gets most of them. Adopting a puppy is a big deal, as it should be, and puppy adopters can sometimes get cold feet and back out last minute, change their minds about what kind of puppy they want or get impatient with the lengthy adoption process and the hold time. Some adopters have lots of lines in the water (they’ve applied for several puppies at several different rescues or shelters). All of this means that the ACs are juggling many, many people and puppies at once and the winds change on whims.

As I said, I wouldn’t want their job, but I am VERY grateful that there are these odd people who enjoy being ACs and do a tireless job for OPH.

This litter had more than its share of switcheroos and moving targets. Deb had her hands full. Last fall when I had Edith Wharton and her darling dozen, I actually had to have two ACs because the job was so enormous. I’ve worked with probably a dozen different ACs with OPH and every time, I’m amazed at the work they do. So, I just wanted to mention them in a post—ACs, along with reference checkers, are the unsung heroes of every adoption.

[If you’re one of those people who read my posts and think—“I wish I could foster, but it would be too hard, messy, heartbreaking, etc.,” but you’d really like to help, consider being a reference checker or even an adoption coordinator for OPH. You do all the work from your home with your computer and your phone. If you’d like more information, click here.]

Okay, enough of my shameless volunteer recruitment. What happened this week in this foster house? Continue reading Unsung Rescue Heroes & A New Training Tool

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What it Takes to Raise an Awesome Dog

Frankie and Buford have become bestbuds.

I know Frankie will miss Buford when he finds his forever family. And I’m sure that will be soon, because this is one awesome puppy.

He’s my sweet little shadow in the house, regularly nudging me with his big nose (think Spud McKenzie) asking gently for my attention. I traveled to Hanover with Buford for an adoption event and he slept quietly the whole drive which was hilly and long. At the event, he was calm and friendly—quite a difference from the other overly excitable puppy attending the event. They really don’t make much nicer pups than this. Somebody is going to score bigtime with this adoption.

I know having dogs and puppies coming and going may seem a bit disruptive emotionally for Frankie, but it’s my greatest hope that instead of being a negative experience for Frankie’s little heart, it’ll be a positive one. He’ll discover that there are LOTS of dogs to love and that even though I might be paying a lot of attention to the latest visitor, that dog is just that – a visitor. I’m hopeful it will make Frankie a welcoming, confident, friendly dog who is always ready to make a new friend.

Because that is exactly NOT the kind of dog Gracie is.

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Upon meeting any new dog, Gracie’s assumption is Continue reading What it Takes to Raise an Awesome Dog

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!)

The Pee Wars

I’ve had about enough of the pee wars. Unbeknownst to you, this quiet war has been waging in my kitchen for three days. I don’t know who started it. I don’t know how it will be ‘won,’ but I’ve had entirely enough of it.

So today I armed myself. I bought a doggie diaper. I’m not sure yet which dog will be wearing it, but I’ve decided to place blame on the dog who should know better, so here she is modeling it for you:

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Let me back up.

On Friday evening, I brought home two new fosters. Continue reading The Pee Wars

Second Chances

Now that I’m back to walking (YES! MRI revealed lots of damage, but nothing to stop me from moving forward and continuing to heal on my own!) I’ve had a chance to catch up on my thinking. So much was backlogged in my brain – ideas, worries, dreams, questions, stories. Lucy and I have increased our walk time each day this week and this morning we wandered the back roads for nearly an hour.

I’m still mulling over the book Rescue Road and pondering the enormous challenges to dog rescue in the US (and in the world). I had begun to feel the same way I did when my elementary school science teacher explained how far away Pluto was – it seemed like an insurmountable distance.

My teeny, tiny part in rescuing dogs couldn’t possibly put even the idea of a dent in the problem. Probably my thoughts were colored by my inability to move without pain. But now, the world looks different. I’m ready to get back in the game. I’m ready to save some more dogs.

I’ve had my moments of frustration with Lucy these past few weeks. She has come so far – she’s no longer scratching and her beautiful tri-colored coat is coming back in, her energy levels are rising (and rising!), and her happiness quotient somehow went even higher.

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Here she is playing with the filling for the Frank bed.

My frustration springs from the fact that she is not accustomed to living indoors. It hasn’t been an easy transition. Part of me wants to put her on a line outside. She’d probably be more comfortable. That’s what she’s known. Instead, we keep her in the kitchen and walk her frequently. We reward her when she pees outside and admonish her when she pees inside.

I think she finally understands she shouldn’t pee on our floor, but this morning when she evidently couldn’t hold it a moment longer, she peed on the Frank bed. I was so angry! Why would she do this? Why? Why? Why? I took her outside and then I closed her in her crate. Continue reading Second Chances

They’re Really Lovers, Not Fighters, Honest!

DSC_9994I need to find a way to harness all this dog energy to power my house. Two border collies, the Amazing Frank, and my own over-anxious, awkward personal dog, Gracie, have turned our home into something of a three-ring circus.

Lucky for us the boys are all super good at coming when they are called, so they can have regular romps outside. This is a video of the craziness…

It’s so entertaining that one of my new favorite activities is to retire to the top of our hillside in the evening with a glass of wine and watch the shenanigans. The only problem is, just like boy children, boy dog play can sometimes graduate to boy dog fights.

Usually this happens when somebody (the “senior” member of these musketeers) gets tired and has had enough. Texas, who has endless energy and can outrun all the others, just never quits, but since he is too speedy for Frank to grab him, Tennessee usually ends up on the bottom of the pile. Unlike Texas and Gracie who will both take their licks and slink away, Tenn hangs in there for a moment too long probably protesting with growls that say, “Hey! That wasn’t me! It was him! He did it! He’s the one you want!” but either Frank is color blind and simply sees an annoying black dog or he enjoys kicking a little Tennessee butt on occasion.DSC_0059

There’s only been one serious incident which resulted in a small cut on Tennessee’s face. It’s one more nick on his sweet face that was already covered with tiny tooth sized injuries when he arrived at our house, so I’m guessing he isn’t a stranger to these scuffles. I tended his wound and chastised Frank and kept them apart for a few days, but finally relented. They really, really, really wanted to play. And up until that point, they’d done well together, wrestling for hours without it breaking into bloody battles. Besides, Texas needed some relief as he was limping from one too many top-speed full-body slams with Frank. Continue reading They’re Really Lovers, Not Fighters, Honest!