The excitement level in this house is working its way off the charts, so having four puppies and three dogs in our midst just seems appropriate.
Dear friends stopped by Sunday night for an impromptu supper and as we talked, we had to raise our voices over the excited yipping of the breakfast pups (Grits was hiding under the raised bed again – which makes his sisters go nuts. I think maybe they believe he really is gone when he does this.).
When Snoopy jumped up on one friend to assist him with his plate, he laughed and gently nudged him away. And when Frankie’s excitement veered towards the out-of-my-control level, they waited while we crated him.
I love that I have the kind of friends who don’t bat an eye at the dog chaos that has become my life.
The Breakfast pups are sweet, goofy, houndish pups who I am truly enjoying. They are affectionate (with tongues instead of teeth!) and happy and as puppies go, pretty easy to manage. Barkalona (aka Snoopy) is still a dreamboat (although he did figure out how to wiggle under the fence yesterday and had a happy runaround, cautiously checking out the horses, but thankfully, coming when I called!)
They are finding their adopters, and as soon as we get their tummies right, they will begin leaving. (Grits is still available if you’re looking for a super-sweet pup with houndish habits!) Amongst all the puppy-ness, I worry that Billie Jean is being overlooked. This is a really nice dog, people. Heart of gold and whip smart, this dog is a keeper.
One of the great things about adopting through a foster home is I can give you a pretty good assessment of the dog in question. We’ve lived with Billie Jean for over a month now, so let me give you the rundown on Billie Jean:
Billie Jean is gorgeous. This is the most obvious stat on Billie Jean. Her pictures don’t do her justice. She is simply so much prettier in person (in dog?). The markings, the soft, soft coat, the deep, expressive eyes. She is a looker, plain and simple.
Ian calls her Kangaroo because she has six toes on her back feet. She does (kind of) resemble a kangaroo in that those big back feet can help her balance on her hind legs for long periods of time. She definitely missed her calling as a circus dog.
But she’s smart enough to be a circus dog. At times, I feel like she understands English. She certainly can read my mood and sometimes my mind. Billie is a sensitive soul and her devotion is almost embarrassing. Extremely food motivated, in the right hands, she could be quite the trick or agility dog.
She is a quirky pup with a happy energy, who makes us laugh often. There isn’t much she won’t do to win your attention and affection.
Billie Jean loves people – all shapes, sizes, ages. She is shameless in her affection and will roll to her back in a moment to insist you rub her belly.
Billie Jean loves toys. While she is thrilled to play with you, she can also entertain herself – tossing toys, shaking them, chasing them. I’ve never seen such a self-directed dog. She needs toys for tough chewers as she can decimate a stuffed toy in moments.
Billie is fine with other dogs, but doesn’t need a fur-sibling in her future home. I’ve grown to understand that there are two classes of dogs – people-dogs, and dog-dogs. Some dogs are more interested in people than other dogs, while some dogs are much more interested in other dogs than people. My dog Frankie is a dog’s dog. He is much more focused on other dogs than the people attached to them. He loves to play with every dog we encounter, but as he has become a teenager, he is not-so-sure of people and we have to supervise his introductions. Billie Jean is the reverse, she doesn’t notice the other dogs, she’d much rather interact with people. She gets along with other dogs, but they aren’t her priority.
Billie Jean is housebroken and crate trained. Those two features are rarely available in the breeder or shelter model. She is a quiet dog – she doesn’t bark at every noise or movement (like my two personal dogs do). She’s a watcher though, taking it all in.
Billie Jean has a very strong prey drive. Because of this, I wouldn’t recommend her for a home with cats. She has an instinctive urge to chase anything moving – cats, deer, and cars. While her leash manners are improving (she does best on a front leading harness), her excitement at passing cars is still a challenge. When we see the car approaching, I grab the short handle on the leash and start talking to her, reassuring her that there’s no need to go after this car, it means us no harm. She quivers and shakes, but sits when I ask her to. The car approaches and I can sense her coiling, ready. As it passes, she springs off those kangaroo feet to chase and is cut short by my hand on the leash. We repeat this all along our walk.
I want to say she is getting better, but that’s relative. She’s better with cars that slow down and doesn’t seem inclined to lunge at motorcycles. I haven’t been able to walk her on a sidewalk (we don’t have those things around here), but I wonder if she will be better when there is more space between her and the passing cars — at the speed many locals fly by us, I’m scared too. Still, this will be a challenge for adopters who want to walk her along a road.
Off road, though, she is a gem. She’s an enthusiastic hiking buddy, loves to chase balls and frisbees, and will leap in a stream or pounce on a puddle.
Having now fostered nearly 120 dogs, I can confidently say, that Billie Jean is one of the easy ones. She’s not perfect (none of us are), but she is a good dog who will make an awesome family member. It surprises me that Billie Jean has lingered so long in rescue. But we don’t mind because she’s such an easy dog to have around and we adore her.
When wonderful dogs don’t move quickly, I’ve come to believe this is because their real family just isn’t ready for them yet. I know Billie Jean’s family will come – and what a lucky family they must be! If you think YOU might be Billie Jean’s family, you can apply to adopt her here.
And now for the Elephant in the Room (at least my room) – ANOTHER GOOD DOG HITS SHELVES TODAY!
Eating, sleeping, and focusing for longer than thirty seconds are all impossibilities for me right now. I am leaning on my dogs and happy that I have a houseful. I want to take a second here, to thank YOU, dear blog followers.
It has been your positive reception and your encouragement that prompted me to consider creating the book. Without you, I’m not sure I would have believed there was a market for it. Thank you for allowing me to share my stories here first.
Longtime readers of this blog will recognize the dogs in the book and many of the adventures, but I’ve added much more of the behind the scenes and the tidbits that weren’t quite tidy enough for the blog, especially what was happening in our family during that time. If you read the book, I’d love to hear what you think! I’d also love to meet you at the many, many signings on the launch schedule. I’m working on additional tours and hope to make it further from home eventually.
Here’s the complete schedule as of this moment (in case you’re interested), please come out and see me if you’re nearby.
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to know more about the book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, check out my new website, AnotherGoodDog.org, where you can find more pictures of the dogs from the book (and some of their happily-ever-after stories), information on fostering, event schedule, and more!
If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more regular updates of foster dogs past and present and extra puppy pictures, be sure to join the Another Good Dog facebook group.