Our Tragic Weekend

If it’s painful, you become willing not just to endure it but also to let it awaken your heart and soften you. You learn to embrace it.
– Pema Chodron

The heavy sadness that followed me everywhere this weekend despite the sunshine, seems to have let up a bit. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve had my first real sleep in three nights or that the tide has truly turned in my puppy pen.

If you’ve been following on the Facebook Another Good Dog group, you know that it has been a tragic few days here.

After three nights of nearly no sleep, it’s hard to remember the order of events, so I hope you’ll forgive me if I mix up a detail or two.

As I mentioned in the previous post, Darlin’s temperature dropped soon after she arrived here Thursday afternoon which meant that labor was imminent. Continue reading Our Tragic Weekend

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?

dsc_6812

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

dsc_6778dsc_6787img_4761

img_4824

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

Puppy Complaints (and Perks)

You’d think if you were a kid and you had a pack of puppies in your house, it would be awesome.

dsc_6535

Heaven, really.

Not my kids.

It’s not that they don’t like them—they do.

They’re just over it. Completely.

I didn’t think anyone could ever max out on puppies, but I guess I’m wrong. Only weirdos like me insist on nonstop puppies.

Here are the complaints: Continue reading Puppy Complaints (and Perks)

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!),

15055794_10154052302712405_5566762759091790653_n

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

img_3859

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

15123227_10210278952001440_8282722203070237890_o

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….).

img_6281

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

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

It’s Hard, Every Time (but that’s not the point)

“Isn’t it hard to give them away?”

If you foster dogs, this is a question tossed at you on a regular basis. I hear it so often, that I thought I’d just take a moment to set the record straight.

Yes, it is hard to give them away. Every time. Sometimes it’s harder than others.

For instance, I won’t miss cleaning up after twelve puppies, but I will miss each of these precious pups who I’ve come to know and love. I will miss George’s impish ways and Zora’s constant need for hugs. I will miss Louisa May’s soft, soft coat and the quiet way Eudora leans in to me wanting my attention but not demanding it like the others. I will miss all these pups. Just like I miss all the dogs and puppies that came before them.

14639845_10209947815283229_8858275042860330396_n

So, yes, it is very hard to give them away. But I know when they arrive at my house that the day is coming when I will watch them leave. I don’t ever think of these dogs as ‘mine.’ I think of the time they have with me as a sort of a grace period. It’s my gift to them- a safe place to get their feet underneath themselves and know love and security so they are ready to go to their forever homes.

In the beginning, fostering for us was about having fun with a new dog, we even flirted with keeping one or another. Continue reading It’s Hard, Every Time (but that’s not the point)

Puppies Ruin Your Life

After over six weeks with these pups, here’s the thing that is getting to me—there are so many of them. Yes, yes, I know. I knew there were twelve when I picked them up. But back then they were tiny. Their little shiny bodies could be held in one hand.

Having fostered a litter of nine puppies last spring, I really thought that twelve wasn’t that many more.

It’s just that it is.

Twelve is a lot.

Adjustments have to be made. Not just enlarging the pen, but in terms of equipment and strategies. You can’t feed twelve puppies with a couple dog food bowls. There would be a riot and little Georgie might get trampled. So, instead, we use a plastic veggie tray which is large and round with six sections, plus another three section serving tray. (Don’t worry— I probably won’t use either again at our parties!)

dsc_5402

A water bowl also won’t work for twelve puppies, so instead I use a big, tall-sided plastic chip and dip tray, filling the chip area with water so that six or ten puppies can drink all at once. Puppies tend to do everything enmass. (Again – I promise you probably won’t see this dish at our shindigs!) The chip/dip tray works great unless the kennel attendant steps on a side of it. If that happens the room is flooded and the freshly laid puppy pads are soaked. The residents find that to be a fun situation. Continue reading Puppies Ruin Your Life