“You know, when you’re hiding how many dogs you have from your family, it’s a sign you have a problem.”
This is what my sister-in-law said to me over a beer Saturday night. I had just confessed to her that we had another dog coming on Sunday, but someone else was holding the dog over the weekend until all the extraneous family left.
We had a weekend full of family visiting to see my daughter perform in YorVoice – a friendly local a-la-the-Voice competition held at a gorgeous theater in downtown York. (She WON by the way – pardon me while I take a moment to do a proud-mama-brag! You can see it HERE. She’s the third performer.) I told Sherry that I wasn’t hiding the new dog; it was just a crazy busy weekend beyond the visiting relatives and I didn’t want to add to the chaos. (But, really, all our weekends are pretty busy so if I’m honest, the deception was prompted completely by the visiting relatives.)
This would be the first time some of them had been here in a while. Since their last visit, we’ve fostered over 75 dogs. There are now baby gates and dog beds and toys and baskets of laundry creating a new maze of obstacles in our home, similar to when we had three toddlers/preschoolers roaming the land.
There’s a nice, new cozy bed in the guest bedroom, but that doesn’t mask the fact that three whiney puppies are ensconced on the other side of the wall from their bedroom, plus the pushy mama dog who is protesting the onset of weaning and regularly breaks through the baby gate to whine outside the puppy pen. Add to that my snarky, awkward personal dog, and, well, you get the picture. It seemed smarter to avoid having to explain why I could possibly be adding to the chaos.
Eventually I was found out (and teased), but Sherry was right about it probably being wise to be upfront about your problem with your family. I think the days have passed when they could have had me committed involuntarily. For the most part, I distracted them with puppies.
Other than much eye-rolling and head shaking (and the requisite snarling from Gracie), Nelson’s arrival on Sunday went uneventfully. I have many, many excuses for why I signed on to host him. But they are only that — excuses. The real reason is I couldn’t resist him. Because, yes, I do have a dog problem. (Owning that.)
In case you’re interested, here are my excuses –
- Darlin’ is not interested in weaning. In fact, she doesn’t seem to see any reason to start. The pups are five weeks old and have teeth and are eating real puppy food, so they don’t need to be nursing. It’s been a rough go, so I’ve indulged the lot of them. Maybe they needed the comfort of nursing a little longer. But now, it’s time to get serious about weaning. (Nick thinks that Darlin’ is actually more of a ‘welfare mom’ who only wants access to the puppies so she can eat all their puppy food. He may be right because she generally nurses the pups standing while consuming all their leftovers, cruises the pen looking for more bits, and then leaves. My thinking in adding Nelson, is he can be a distraction. A new friend to hang out with instead of the puppies. Darlin’ and Gracie get along fine (translation: they ignore each other completely, never even making eye contact)
- There are entirely too many dogs in need of foster homes and we had room. Taking Nelson means I don’t have to feel guilty about all the ones I didn’t take.
- Nelson is A-dorable
- And he’s part heeler, which I’ve developed a shine to. Heelers are just such smart, easy dogs to have around.
- And he’s a boy. I like boy dogs. They aren’t nearly as complicated as girl dogs. Straight-forward loyalty and if they aren’t housebroken, I can put a male dog wrap on them. (Nelson appears to be housebroken – major YAY.)
So far Darlin’ and Nelson are getting along, but sleeping on opposite ends of the kitchen. Neither will take the Frank bed. I don’t know if this is because they are both too polite – ‘No, you take the bed, I’m fine on the couch.’ Or if they are both hillbilly, street dogs who have never grown accustomed to a dog bed.
The really cool thing about the two of them is how cute they look together. They are both large, long bodied with short stumpy legs and fluffy tails (think Corgi-shaped). They make a nice set. I’m hoping to get them out for walks together soon, as Darlin’ needs to start re-claiming her pre-puppy body and Nelson looks to be the type who could easily pack on the pounds without proper exercise.
The puppies are doing fine. Puddin’ is ruling the roost and tormenting his little sissies. He is absolutely, 100% spoiled thanks to all the attention he received from his abundant therapists these last few weeks, and consequently he does not understand why every person near him is not paying complete attention to him.
Doodlebug is way beyond cute and feisty as can be – attempting to tear apart stuffed animals and gnawing on available feet. Her cuteness is nearly painful. The lopsided stripe down her face, her easy grin, and her tiny, square body make her the stand out.
Bogo was diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia and is so far, holding her own. She has plenty of energy and a great appetite despite her darth-vadar-like breathing. I’ve got fingers cross that her new antibiotic is going to do the trick, but her liveliness makes me optimistic. It always seems to be something with this crew, so I’m not going to be able to let out my breath until they all secure a healthy puppy certificate in a couple weeks.
If you’d like to see the pups live in action, join the Another Good Dog facebook group where I try to post frequent videos so I can share the adorableness.
I’m only half-kidding when I say I have a dog problem. I love the critters I’m privileged to foster, perhaps beyond a normal level, but I do have a problem with the fact that so many dogs never make it out of the shelters. We euthanize over 1.5 million dogs in the US every year. This country needs to get serious about solving our dog (and cat) overpopulation problem. Fostering is only a stop-gap measure. Spay and neuter your pets, folks. And spread the word.
Thanks for reading.