People in Little Furry Suits

What goes through a dog’s mind? This week, as I watched my three musketeers – Gracie, Estelle, and Vera, following me from room to room, up and down the stairs, my three furry shadows, I’ve wondered what, exactly, are they thinking?

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Vera has only been here about ten days, but she has easily stolen our hearts.

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In the past year she’s been rescued from death in a shelter, arriving in her first OPH home testing heartworm positive and bearing a ghastly embedded collar wound. After her neck healed (with a scar so deep you can sink your finger in it up to the first knuckle) and she was treated for heartworm, she was adopted. Yay, happy ending, right?

Wrong. Continue reading People in Little Furry Suits

50th Times the Charm

Our house is much quieter. (for now)

Rooney finally went home with her new forever mom after a long wait. They met over a week ago and fell in love, but we had to wait for Rooney to finish her antibiotics and be 100% healthy so she could go home. Which she did on Friday. And we all miss her. My little brother will be very happy to know Rooney is in the Air Force now! Her mom is one of America’s finest.

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Before she left, she, Lucy, and Obie had a fun week.

Here’s Obie and Lucy sharing a stick:

And here’s Rooney and Obie not sharing a pumpkin: Continue reading 50th Times the Charm

Of Puppies and Pumpkins

I just forced myself to stop playing with the puppy-doll and get back to my desk. Obie is VERY hard to resist. He loves to be held. I wish I’d kept my baby-sling because I’m positive he would be super happy snuggled in it accompanying me about my day. Being the lone puppy is not easy, even despite the bags of toys he received this weekend!

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It was just like Christmas for Obie this weekend when he finally got some new toys to play with! (thanks Mindy and OPH!)

This morning I lunged him in the side yard with my longest leash. If you’re a horse person, you might be familiar with that term. It’s when the person stands still and a horse on a lungeline works in a circle around the person. Obie lunges very well, also. He zooms around and around and around. When he really gets going, he almost looks like a rabbit because his hind legs are reaching in front of his front legs at times.

Kind of like a wind-up toy, this burst of energy expels itself fairly quickly. When he’s finished, he’d like you to pick him up and carry him around, thank you. All day, would be his preference. Obie is pretty much THE best snuggler I’ve encountered. I think that’s remarkable considering he’s a puppy (and most puppies prefer to keep moving). But if you’ll just hold him against your heart with his head tucked under your chin, he’ll be content forever. Yup, definitely a puppy-doll. He’s great therapy for this mom who is missing her oldest kiddo who just left for his second year in college.

Rooney has found her forever family, but is hanging out with us an extra week to complete a course of antibiotics to hopefully clear up the secondary infection she developed after her UTI. No one minds because Rooney is a most gracious guest. Ever since the end of the pee wars, she has been a model foster dog. Continue reading Of Puppies and Pumpkins

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

Being the Mama

There’s something about mama dogs.

It’s as if they know something other dogs don’t.

I remember a similar feeling after giving birth to my own first born. The world seemed maybe not so simple, while at the same time it was much clearer to me what matters.

Berneen (or Bernie as we’ve taken to calling her as she is also a bit of a rumpled underdog) has clearly been a mama. Her body would testify to that, but so would her heart.

I picked her up from boarding on Sunday in the rain. She ducked her head as I herded her to my car, but I know now it wasn’t because of the rain. That’s been her way. She’s an incredibly humble dog, always wanting to get out of your way, not claim too much space. She still crumbles to the floor when I reach for her collar to snap the leash on and whimpers in gratitude once it’s clear we’re going for a walk.

She spent the first two days here sleeping. She lay on the Frank bed (covered with a blanket because I worried when she hadn’t peed for hours – although she has yet to have any accidents). She lay with her legs tucked under her so that she resembled a seal. She seemed exhausted, not even raising her head when we moved about the kitchen. I wondered if she was mourning something or someone or if the last months of being a stray and a shelter dog were very hard and finally she was in a safe place where she could sleep.

She’s clearly been someone’s dog before. She’s housebroken and well-mannered. She reminded me of Carla when she first arrived – another heartbroken dog.

Oak was just dying to meet her and when I finally allowed it, he crawled all over her, like the puppy he is. Continue reading Being the Mama

There’s Always Another Good Dog

Fostering has so much become our way of life that all my kids (and most of their friends) always close the baby gate behind them when they leave the kitchen, even when there’s no dog about. They are careful when they exit/enter the house, looking all around them like soldiers averting land mines. No one wants to chase a foster dog up the hill.

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Visitors don’t bat an eye at the keys hanging out of the front door lock (on the outside) because they know that some of our fosters (Meredith, Tennessee, John Coffey, and Frank) know how to work a lever handle door. Even if you’re only going for a piece of wood for the fire or to throw some scraps to the chickens, LOCK the door behind you.

The stacks of towels, bags of food, and random collars that litter the landscape of our house don’t look so out of place to me anymore. I just dust around them (if I were to dust).

Best of all, there’s no need to explain the random crates, assorted dogs, or that funny smell to anyone who stops by because they know all about my dog habit.

Meredith took off for her forever home on Monday after being a ROCK STAR at the Hanover OPH event. She was a much different dog than the frightened little girl who hid behind me on her first visit to the pet store. Continue reading There’s Always Another Good Dog

The Good and the Bad of Liliana

IMG_2444So now that Lily’s been here nearly a week and demonstrated that she’s more or less housebroken, she’s been given the run of the place. This is good and bad.

Good – Lily is a BIG dog. I know she doesn’t look that large, but she’s SOLID and has a tail more like a beaver’s than a dog’s. That appendage is strong and can hurt you or anything else in its path. Plus, it’s basically set on nonstop wag due to her happy heart. Now she can run full-out through the living room, up and down the stairs, before coming to a sliding stop on the wood floor in the kitchen. (She’s getting better traction since I took her over to visit Chuggy, and Jim trimmed her nails for me! Big shout out to Four Paws Pet Shop & Grooming – thanks a million! I’m terrified to trim nails so Jim and Rosie may regret the day they said to bring my fosters in for free nail trimmings!)

Bad – Lily is like an over-sized puppy. Fun, right? Ahuh, until she gets ahold of your slipper. She’s got adult size teeth with a puppy-sized urge to chew. Bad combination. So far, besides my slippers and my gloves, she’s destroyed pretty much every dog toy we’ve given her. At first, this was a good thing since we had accumulated WAY too many worn out dog toys and needed to get rid of a few anyway. But now we’re running out of toys. All, I’ve got to give her are old sneakers and tennis balls, which are totally uninteresting after a minute or two unless someone is flinging them for you – here’s Lily in action:

Good – Lily is a whiner when left alone. Now that she can continually check-in with everyone, she whines less. That is, until she realizes that no one wants to play.

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Here’s Lily requesting a play date

Bad – Now Gracie has to deal with Lily full-time. Gracie is a grumpy, snarly, socially awkward dog who is about as tall as Lily, but 20 pounds lighter. What Lily wants more than anything is for Gracie to PLAY with her. C’mon, just one game of tear around the house? Ya wanna, Ya wanna, Ya wanna? Here’s what happens: Continue reading The Good and the Bad of Liliana