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.

chew toys

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.

easy lead

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:

gala contorting

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!

The Messy Truth about Dog Fostering

Look what arrived!!IMG_1677

I think it’s time to be honest about what it takes to be a foster family for all these deserving dogs. Maybe I’ve made it sound glamourous and exciting. Sure, it’s all that. Kind of. But beyond the sweet faces, fuzzy snuggles, amusing antics, and happy endings, there is some serious work. And sometimes there is a little bit of frustration and a tiny tad of aggravation and occasionally there are moments when you groan and say “Why am I doing this again?” to a clueless dog who looks at you with complete unadulterated innocence. You need to be a determined and patient person to foster dogs. And you definitely can’t take your house (or belongings) too seriously.

For me, the hardest part has not been the getting attached or the rearranging of our family schedule or the late night and early morning walks. What makes me the most nuts and causes my husband to growl, are the messes. And I’m not talking about the shredded newspaper, the upended ash bucket, or de-stuffed stuffed animals. I’m talking about pee. The latest foster dogs are pee-ers.

I know they look innocent, but they are capable of significant mess making and proportionately ridiculous destruction.
I know they look innocent, but they are capable of significant mess making and proportionately ridiculous destruction.

Continue reading The Messy Truth about Dog Fostering

Older, Wiser We Are

DSC_7921So Galina is still here. I guess we assumed she’d have a home by now since she’s such a little sweet heart, even if she is a mischievous devil at the same time. For the past three weeks we’ve been treating her like an honored guest – feeding her as much as she wants, letting her sit on the good furniture, and fawning over her at every opportunity.

When you have a guest and they accidentally break something like your reading glasses or computer charger cord or your ottoman, you let it slide. You don’t want the guest to feel unwelcome. Maybe you joke about it, even blog about it.

And when a guest leaves a mess – like an entire deck of cards spread across your living room floor (a few half-eaten) or maybe the guest discovers an irresistible roll of wrapping paper under the bed and decides it would be a perfect snack. You let this slide also. It’s kind of funny, really. And cards are cheap and you never liked that wrapping paper anyway.

But now she’s been here long enough, she’s more like family. So we scold her and grumble at her and yesterday I snapped at her (granted she had just stolen the sock I was trying to put on my foot). It’s become evident that she’s getting awfully comfortable.

So this week it was time to instill a little order, a little discipline. Enough of the free ride.  For the past few days, Galina has not been allowed free reign of the house unsupervised. She’s spent much more time in her crate. I know that seems cruel, but the crate is full of toys and she gets a treat every time she goes in and, most importantly, she goes in happily. She never even whines when she’s in her crate. And yesterday when I snapped at her about the sock, she ran in her crate for safety from the loud woman. Continue reading Older, Wiser We Are