What it Takes to Raise an Awesome Dog

Frankie and Buford have become bestbuds.

I know Frankie will miss Buford when he finds his forever family. And I’m sure that will be soon, because this is one awesome puppy.

He’s my sweet little shadow in the house, regularly nudging me with his big nose (think Spud McKenzie) asking gently for my attention. I traveled to Hanover with Buford for an adoption event and he slept quietly the whole drive which was hilly and long. At the event, he was calm and friendly—quite a difference from the other overly excitable puppy attending the event. They really don’t make much nicer pups than this. Somebody is going to score bigtime with this adoption.

I know having dogs and puppies coming and going may seem a bit disruptive emotionally for Frankie, but it’s my greatest hope that instead of being a negative experience for Frankie’s little heart, it’ll be a positive one. He’ll discover that there are LOTS of dogs to love and that even though I might be paying a lot of attention to the latest visitor, that dog is just that – a visitor. I’m hopeful it will make Frankie a welcoming, confident, friendly dog who is always ready to make a new friend.

Because that is exactly NOT the kind of dog Gracie is.

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Upon meeting any new dog, Gracie’s assumption is Continue reading What it Takes to Raise an Awesome Dog

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Home, Sweet Home

After a long weekend of driving in the rain and being on my feet talking to strangers (and trying to be charming), it has been nice to be surrounded by dogs once again. They’re very honest about what they want from me – food, squeaky toys, and my undivided attention and affection.

Buford (Bronson) basically doubles Frankie. Same size. Same energy. Same happy-happy. Same need for love and attention.

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They spend their days wearing each other out with their playing (which was the secondary reason for fostering Buford, beyond saving a life). They vie for attention, constantly one-upping each other much like real boys. Sometimes their exchanges disintegrate into modified brawls. And sometimes they end when Gala has heard enough and barks at them. Her loud voice sends them both running for cover.

Here’s a typical scene: Continue reading Home, Sweet Home

Foster Fail

Ninety-five dogs later…..I’ve finally found the one.

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It’s not that I haven’t loved the ninety-four that came before him, but this guy seems to belong here. As my husband would say, “He ticks all the boxes.”

He’s a boy.

He’s got very short hair.

He’s a Catahoula (swoon).

He’s very mellow and unflappable.

He’s not gonna be huge.

He’s friendly, but not in-your-face.

He’s not a whiner. He’s happy for my attention, but doesn’t demand it.

He’s happy to play with siblings, but also happy to play with his toys.

Maybe it’s the fact that he’s grown up with five sisters, but this Continue reading Foster Fail

Runaway Gala (& The Pepper Puppers)

This time I really thought I’d seen the last of Gala.

That was my thought, anyway, as I watched her disappear through the woods in pursuit of a herd of deer. She was headed in the general direction of Maryland, and I was pretty sure she would make it.

We were about a mile and a half away from home on our regular run when the deer appeared. Gala did what she usually does – leapt in the air after them.

Because we run with the Easy Walk harness, this usually means that as she reaches the end of her lead, the harness forces her to do a lovely pirouette in midair and land facing me again.

This is the point where I say, “Leave it,” in my firm, take-no-prisoners voice, and then she does not leave it. Most days it takes three or four pirouettes and reminders before she gives up and simply prances for a quarter mile or so.

On Friday, she had done about four pirouettes, when she went airborne for a fifth. This time, though, Continue reading Runaway Gala (& The Pepper Puppers)

All This Good-Bye Saying is Wearing on a Soul

20953348_10154856620492405_641604796664883125_nThe house feels so very quiet and calm despite the fact that all three kids are still here and we have a border collie puppy in residence. Without Gala, the energy is different. I dreamed about her last night waking at 3am with an uneasy feeling. I lay there imagining what she’s thinking, worrying about her tender heart, and sending up silent prayers that she would blossom in her new setting.

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As has been the case for me of late, sleep did not return. I tossed and turned and debated getting up and cleaning something instead of wasting so much time growing more impatient at my inability to get back to sleep. And then I became absolutely sure I could hear the puppy crying downstairs. Continue reading All This Good-Bye Saying is Wearing on a Soul

The Excitement at Our House has Reached Epic Levels

I’m out of breath just thinking about them. My two new pups, Yin and Yang, bring a whole new meaning to the words ‘whirling dervish’.

They are billed as lab-mix puppies, but I’m gonna walk that back a bit and say lab-mix is overshooting it. I’m not any kind of expert, but my personal experience with lab puppies is that they are playful and fun – but not manic and bouncy. I’ve yet to be able to get a decent picture of these pups thanks to the constant motion. Even when I try to sneak up on them (I know they can be still because I see them on my puppy cam), they sense my presence and become airborne before I even reach the doorway.

(be sure you have the sound up on this video clip – that’s the best part) Continue reading The Excitement at Our House has Reached Epic Levels

Forced Stillness Takes a Toll on the Soul

Gala has lost all hope.

I know that sounds horrible, but that’s the only way I can describe it. Up until now, she’s done really well with her forced confinement. (To catch anyone up on why she is in a crate 24/7 except for short potty walks – Gala has multiple fractures in her jaw after being kicked by a horse. You can read the awful story here.)

Personally, if I was forced to be still and quiet for a month and everyone was taking care of all my needs, giving me a comfy bed on which to rest, and stopping by frequently for visits, I think I just might enjoy it (except the endless streaming of Parks & Rec, that might make me feel as Gala does). All that lounging and catching up on my reading and eating fancy food someone else prepared and cleaned up – what’s not to like?

I didn’t think for one minute think Gala would enjoy or even be able to endure this, but for the first two weeks she surprised me.

She was sad, but resigned. She was happy when any of us crawled in her crate with her (it’s big enough for all of us).

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When we took her out for walks, she was happy to get out, and slammed her cone into everyone looking for attention. She went back into her crate reluctantly and waited for her next walk or visit. She slurped up her gruel and watched what was happening around her intently. She seemed to sense this was ‘only for now’ and soon enough she would be back living amongst us.

But now after three weeks, she has changed. It is as if she’s given up. Continue reading Forced Stillness Takes a Toll on the Soul