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

Dogs Coming and Going

Another returned dog. I won’t bore you with the details of why this dog has come back to OPH care after being adopted 8 months ago. Prior to that she was treated for heartworm in her foster home. Prior to that she was neglected and abandoned and left with the deepest, most horrifying embedded collar scarring I’ve ever seen. She makes Lucy’s neck look like a paper cut.

When Vera Bradley arrived, her adopter was apologetic, explaining that Vera was a little wobbly and confused because she’d given her a sedative for the two-hour drive. Vera’s nails were long and the adopter told me she had to have her vet do them because they’re black, plus Vera is sensitive to the sound of the clippers (we learned later in the weekend that Vera is terrified of snapping sounds – a neighbor’s nailgun sent her into a panic).

After she left, I took Vera to my local pet salon to have her nails trimmed while she was still in her twilight state. She stumbled in and stood for the trimming like a love. The technician was aghast at the embedded collar scarring and took Vera into the grooming area to show all the other employees. “I’ve never seen anything this bad,” she said. “Poor baby.”

And she’s right. It does feel like someone attempted to chop off Vera’s head, but more than likely her neck simply grew around a collar that was too small. Whether that happened when her owner wasn’t paying attention or while she was a stray, we’ll never know. I’m amazed she survived it.

When we got home from the groomers, Vera plopped down on the Frank bed and curled in as small a ball as she could, given her size (she’s about 60 pounds, but is easily at least 10 pounds overweight). She remained there the rest of the day, declining dinner until I sat beside her and urged her to eat. Even then she only finished half.

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The next day, Continue reading Dogs Coming and Going

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

Houdini and Houseguests

It’s normally pretty busy around here, but this weekend the dogs drove us to a new normal. In addition to Edith who was recovering from her spay operation (and still insisting that someone please throw this ball for me!),

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our own darling Gracie (who maxed out on her putting-up-with-guest-dogs limit),

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three puppies (one of which turned out to be a Houdini of sorts and another of which developed exploding diarrhea for about 36 hours),

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we had houseguests who brought their own adorable muppet dog (at my invitation, cause, you know, there’s no such thing as too many dogs….).

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The initial arrival of Chewie (short for Chewbacca), brought a full chorus of welcomes (or warnings) from all five of our canine residents. Gracie was surprisingly more friendly to Chewie than she’s been to the three rascals in the puppy room. (Although, she has stopped snarling at the puppies and now simply pretends they don’t exist, avoiding the room altogether.) Edith was thrilled to welcome five more humans, cozying up to each of them in turn. She now has five more fans. The only evidence of any increased stress for Edith was that she upped her intake of stuffed pumpkins, obliterating five of them while our guests were here. The puppies LOVED Chewie, but he found their enthusiasm a little too much as he is a grown up one-year-old and all.

Lucky for us, everybody who lives here is pretty much immune to the noise and chaos and our friends are easy guests, so it worked. They weren’t the least bit fazed when I told them we’d put a new jumbo pack of earplugs in the guest bath for their use. Sure, sleep was at a premium and I’m not certain anyone (except perhaps my college age son who was home for the weekend and didn’t get out of bed until 3pmish on Saturday) got a restful night’s sleep. Continue reading Houdini and Houseguests

Election Results

When I woke last Wednesday morning and the election was finally over, I was devastated. I looked out at the rain and it felt like my best plan of action was to crawl back in bed and not get up for four years.

But then I had another thought.

“Suck it up, Buttercup,” I told myself.

I can handle this. And besides, I’m not always right. It is my greatest hope that I am completely wrong on this one. Now, don’t let that sidetrack you. This is not a political post. That’s just a confession of where I was when I made a crazy decision.

I got out of bed, had some caffeine and changed the notifications on my Facebook (I did put on my big-girl panties, but that doesn’t mean I could stomach the taunting or rejoicing of those for which it was a bright sunny morning).

And then I decided what I really needed was some puppies. That would put everything in perspective for me, or at the very least, it would be a grand distraction and a place to channel my excess emotions. Continue reading Election Results

Edith

14915185_10210231496135073_2127436741205755890_nEdith’s road to heartworm recovery began this week. Yesterday I persuaded her to swallow the first of 48 pills she will need to take in the next two weeks. Three a day. Not my favorite job, but she is a good sport, so far. I finally found a use for the odd sausage shaped dog treat that came in one of my foster dog bags at transport. It looks just like a people sausage. Up until now, I hadn’t been able to fathom how or why I would give it to one of my dogs. Edith is a fan. And so far, she hasn’t noticed the little green pill lodge inside the second bit of sausage I feed her.

She also got 2 heartworm preventatives to kick off her treatment. She was hesistant, but in the end she ate the preventatives when nothing better appeared. They’re reputed to taste great (but this is debatable, just ask Gracie and at least half of Edith’s puppies – it must be an acquired taste).

Edith’s energy has grown every day since weaning the puppies. She is always anxious to get out of her crate in the morning and takes at least two slippery runs around the kitchen island before we head outside for her constitutional. Outside, she attempts to engage the kitties in a little game of you-runaway-and-I’ll-chase-you. Crash indulges her on occasion, but Hermoine is old and wise and instead looks at Edith with great disdain and if Edith leans a little too close with her invitation, Hermoine swats her across the snout. Continue reading Edith

We’re Running Low on Puppies

dsc_5551“We’re running low on puppies,” said Ian after he’d poked his head in the puppy room on Sunday and noticed we were down to three puppies.

It’s Tuesday now and the quiet in our house is remarkable. The silence rings like it did when the baby finally stopped crying and fell asleep all those long nights a decade or two ago when we were young parents.

All the puppies have gone to their forever homes. It’s just Edith and Gracie left negotiating territory and guarding their food dishes. Before the pups left, we had one last adventure together that still has me smiling every time I think of it.

With the help of Nancy (Edith’s adopter and OPH photographer) I took all twelve puppies to the vet for their well-visit last Thursday. Remembering my last puppy vet run, I’d packed the car with bags of wet rags, extra towels, garbage bags, and no one (including me) had eaten anything in four hours. We left early so we’d have time to clean up the barf and poop coated puppies that would emerge from their kennels when we finally arrived at the vet. Continue reading We’re Running Low on Puppies