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

With Gala the party never ends

Gala, Gala, Gala. There is never a dull moment with this dog.

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On Friday, we sat on the deck having snacks and a glass of wine with the five grandparents who had arrived for the graduation of my middle child. Gala worked the crowd, slurping faces, giving full body hugs, gladly accepting the dropped slice of cheese. I kept her on a leash so that I’d be able to restrict her enthusiasm if necessary. It was all going nicely. Gala sat sweetly next to me on the couch for a picture.

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And then a moment later, she was up and over the deck railing. Her leash was looped around my wrist, as it always is since I’m well acquainted with her sudden movements. I felt the tug and then nothing. Had she slipped her collar or worse yet, had she inadvertently hung herself? Continue reading With Gala the party never ends

Missing Dog, My Drug Problem, and the Power of Family

On Sunday a dog that had been adopted from OPH by a family near me, got loose and ran off. She’s been missing ever since.

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I’ve sadly been unable to be much help to the searchers as I spent the weekend in a fog of pain. I developed a pinched nerve in my neck on Thursday and it escalated to the point where I felt as if someone was driving a knife in the back side of my head and twisting nonstop. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I’ve read about the kind of people who live with chronic pain and I am most certain that I could never do it. In fact, as I sat (because lying down was even more painful) through the night on Saturday, I understood how a person could become addicted to pain killers.

I had swallowed four ibuprofen and two Tylenols and I was eyeing the serious pain killers that were left from my son’s wisdom teeth extraction. The pain was so far beyond crazy, I really didn’t care if I OD’d; I just needed some relief. I would have traded my first born son (although he’s away at college, so it might be an expensive trade) for the pain to stop. I’d have driven to a dark alley and made any kind of deal to get it to end. Continue reading Missing Dog, My Drug Problem, and the Power of Family

Two Girls Looking for Great Homes

Way back on February 17 when Darlin’ first began labor, I looked 8 weeks ahead on the calendar and thought, “These puppies will go home on Tax day, April 15.” It was solidly winter, with snow days still to come so I couldn’t imagine that day. And then as the adventure began its wild and tragic ride, it was even harder to imagine.

But come it did. It was a happy day for the adopters and I didn’t want my sadness to dampen their excitement, so I saved my tears until I was alone, clearing out the puppy pen, stacking the towels and washing the toys. In many ways it’s felt like I’ve been holding my breath for the last 8 weeks, just trying to get these puppies to this day. And they made it. They are out of my hands.

Darlin’ is either picking up on my emotions or is also missing her pups’ presence. She is more attached to me than ever, even crying (and baying!) at the door when I take Gala outside without her. She follows me from room to room and is underfoot, leaning against me, wanting my constant attention. Continue reading Two Girls Looking for Great Homes

Fostering By the Numbers

Nelson went home on Saturday morning.

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His story illustrates how the foster dog system works when all goes well:

  1. Nelson is selected from the dogs in a shelter in Virginia as an adoptable dog that just needs more time than a shelter has room or funds to provide. OPH pulls him and after a vet determines there is no medical treatment needed for his eye (it was an old trauma), he is neutered, tested for heartworm (he was negative), vaccinated, and microchipped. Then he waits in a local foster home until he can catch a ride north with an OPH transport.
  2. I pick Nelson from a list of dogs in need of fosters, but can’t meet the transport van, so other OPH volunteers step in to pick him up and house him for two nights until I can take him. (Thanks Karie and Evan!)
  3. Nelson arrives here and we assimilate him into our home, walk him, feed him, and get to know him.
  4. I write up a bio about him saying that yes, he is housebroken and yes, he is crate-trained, and no, he isn’t a threat to cats. I write that he’s an easy-going sort of dog who is very lovable to everyone he meets but can counter-surf despite his size. Information like this is something you can’t get when you pick a dog out at a shelter. (And not to discourage ANYONE from adopting from a shelter, I’m just pointing out that there is much good about the foster system that makes an adoption match more likely to be an informed one.)
  5. Nelson is with us for just under two weeks. He is adopted by a family who discover him via the OPH website and have already applied and been approved to adopt a dog. They bring their current dog with them to meet him at my house, adore Nelson on sight, and take him home.

Many, many foster experiences happen just like that. But a few don’t. Continue reading Fostering By the Numbers

One Super Special Pup

I knew Fruitcake was special the moment he was born.

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He didn’t look anything like his siblings. He was white with marvelous black patches. My little cow puppy! His eyes were ringed in black like a teenager experimenting with liquid eyeliner. And when I discovered he had six toes on each of his back feet, it seemed to underline his uniqueness.

Even the other puppies thought he was special and he was often employed as pillow or couch.

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He grew wide and then wider. Each day it became more evident that he was quite different than his siblings. I thought, “Maybe he had a different dad,” but didn’t really worry until the other puppies began pulling up on all fours and he remained flat like a pancake.

Finally, at just over two weeks it became clear that something was decidedly wrong with my favorite pup. Continue reading One Super Special Pup

Our Newest Star

received_1682280152102419On Saturday December 10, our newest foster will arrive! Her name is Estelle, which means star. I named her that for two reasons.

The first is because it’s time this dog was a star and a star is what she will be at our house. She was significantly less than a star in the home that surrendered her. They had not bothered to name her or even feed her, letting her eat from the trash.

Estelle’s owners surrendered her when their landlord decided to shoot Estelle because they were told they couldn’t have a dog. The rescuer in South Carolina learned all this when she went to the home to get Estelle. Before she left the owners also offered to sell her prescription drugs and possibly their children. The enormous heartbreak of this situation still has me stunned. Continue reading Our Newest Star