It’s hard to write about the dogs when I’m not with the dogs, but I’ll try. I’m actually in a California hotel room recovering from my brief brush with Hollywood. If you’d like to read about that adventure, you can find it on my other blog, My Life In Paragraphs.
The drama continues with Oreo. Not that he’s creating any of it. It’s all in my heart and head as I wrestle with this decision of whether he should stay or he should go (the Clash song echoes in my head all day).
Already, Frankie is relaxing with Oreo’s presence. With an older, male dog in residence, he’s free to not be quite so anxious. Instead of clinging to me when I take him outside, he is wandering farther afield. He even ran off into the woods chasing squirrels and was ‘lost’ for over five minutes. That’s a first. Normally, he is hesitant to leave my sight.
He has taken to lounging on the living room sofa instead of standing vigilant at the front door watching and ready to sound the alarm at the sight of intruders (or the horses trotting around the field).
There are plenty of people who agree that having a larger, more mature, calm lead dog in the house will have a good impact on our pack. But the reality is this would be adding a 60-pound family member to an already over-busy household. Plus, there’s the question of is this the best place for Oreo. Can we give him the loving, happy life he so very much deserves?
So far, I haven’t seen a lot of change in Gracie, but she’s stayed fairly consistent through 130 foster dogs so I wouldn’t expect much change yet. It took her about four months to really accept Frankie as permanent. So far, she ignores Oreo’s invites to play, but at least she doesn’t growl at him, and he is nothing but respectful of her cold shoulder.
From my vantage point, it sure is nice to have a dog that welcomes everyone into our house without any coaxing or managing on my part. And wow, could there be a sweeter, more loving soul?
The fact that he is perfect on the leash and has better manners than my kids doesn’t hurt either. Each night when I tuck him in (it’s become a ritual), I ponder these things. We love him, but can we love him enough? And can I trust him to another family? This dog has come way too close to losing his life. He’s spent too much time waiting to live. And now he has to battle heartworms. I need to know that he is safe and loved and happy…forever.
Should he stay or should he go now….I still don’t know. So let’s talk about puppies…
The puppies are growing! Their eyes and ears are open and they tumble around the box with puppy growls and wagging tails. Too cute. Impossibly cute. Why is it that small things are cuter? These pups are nearly half the size of the other litters I’ve had. Which (I assume) means their messes will be half the size. Definitely a nice feature with smaller pups.
On Saturday, the whelping box wall was breached for the first time. I was at a book signing in Maryland and pulled the puppy cam up on my phone to show someone and to my surprise, I could see one of the pups running around outside the box! I called my husband (who was home) to alert him. He texted back: Actually there are three loose puppies!
Up until now, we’ve kept one wall of the box folded in half so that Dixie can easily climb in and out with her bent hind leg, but I’m not sure why since Dixie has easily scaled the baby gate to escape the room. Nick raised the low wall, but maybe it’s time to think about moving them out of the box altogether.
I’m also happy that it’s time to start them on puppy food. I hope that this will mean Ramblin’ Man will begin to gain the traditional puppy belly that he’s yet to develop. He’s doing well, very feisty and playful, despite his skinny appearance (puppy fluff and black fur obscure it in pictures). He tends to end up on the bottom of the pile much too often.
I’ve given him lots of extra nursing time away from the others since Dixie stays out of the box except when nursing the horde, but he seems a bit ADD, going from nipple to nipple, staying less than thirty seconds on each. Even when he does settle on one, within minutes he’s asleep and falls off. His habits when feeding with the rest of the pups basically create a musical chairs effect. He gets off his nipple and someone else immediately grabs it and then he has to go in search of the available nipple since there are eight of them.
Everybody is enjoying real food — so hopefully next post I’ll have a different report on Ramblin’ Man.
I’m hoping to get Nancy here for a photo shoot soon, so we can do official portraits for everyone. Watch the Another Good Dog page for those photos.
If you’re a long-time reader of the blog (or you’ve read my book), here are a few pictures from the signing on Saturday. I had Zora Thurston Neale (from the Edith Wharton litter) with me and also Momma Bear! I’m hoping to add a page to the book’s website of the book alumni dogs signing at events. Collecting their signatures is a thing – at least one person brought her book to the White Marsh signing just to get more signatures.
I’ll be in Vienna, Virginia this Saturday at Bard’s Alley bookshop at 10:30am. I don’t have any dogs yet confirmed to sign with me, but Vienna is deep in the heart of OPH territory, so I’m hoping I’ll find a few to join me.
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to know more about the book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, check 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, the schedule of signings, and what you can do right now to help shelter animals!
If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more pictures and videos of my foster dogs past and present, be sure to join the Another Good Dog facebook group.
Released August 2018 from Pegasus Books and available for preorder now: