It’s felt like we have been in a holding pattern for many, many weeks here. Flannery, Daisy, and Thelma have become permanent fixtures. Our whole family has adapted to life with them.
Don’t leave the kitchen gate open or ANYTHING on the floor or chairs or table or counter edges that you care about or is toxic to dogs. (Thelma)
Don’t let the other dogs out in the dog yard or leave the dog door open. (Daisy)
If the heat gets too much or it thunders or the neighbors start shooting off their guns or their fireworks, move Gracie, Thelma, and Flannery to the kitchen, so Daisy can come inside to go in crate. (Daisy)
When the milkman or the UPS guy comes, put Flannery in my office so she doesn’t lose her mind. (Flannery)
Remind visitors to keep fingers to themselves. (Flannery)
At mealtimes (6am and 6pm), they each have their own dining room. Gracie eats in the living room, Flannery in hallway or office, Thelma in kitchen, and Daisy on the side deck. Water bowls in the living room, kitchen, and side yard have to be kept filled, plus Daisy’s ‘special magic water’ (with the homeopathic drops in it) must be refreshed daily.
I alternate walking buddies daily for a two-mile hike up the hollow – Daisy one day and Thelma/Flannery the next. (Gracie has arthritis and can no longer walk with me.) There is no running, even if it weren’t six thousand degrees outside, it’s too dangerous. Daisy gets a little anxious if I’m running, plus she has a heavy coat and while she’s gotten SO much better, I still worry that something will frighten her suddenly. Taking Thelma and Flannery out together requires my FULL attention as they are both more than a little ADD on walks and leashes can quickly become lethal.
I keep everyone’s dates up on a whiteboard on the wall so I won’t forget a flea/tick treatment or a heartworm preventative. Who gets what to eat is also listed in case there is a substitute waiter for that seating.
Wednesdays are big dog days. Flannery has agility class at 9am. We have to pack our bag with plenty of treats and leave early so she has time to potty before class after the thirty-minute drive.
Later on Wednesdays, I load up Daisy and take her to my friend Gina’s neighborhood for her walk and visit. She has gotten better and better on the busy streets. Last week, a man came walking by us. A few months ago, that would have meant that I’d have to grab her collar and she would drag me in the other direction. But this time, she wagged her tail and actually pulled me toward the man (who didn’t notice her or react). She doesn’t miss a step when we pass other dogs or lawnmowers or even blowers or weed trimmers anymore!
Truly, with these three here, fostering has felt like a part-time job. And it’s not one I can hand off easily to my incredibly patient and willing son. So, as I prepare to head out for a much-needed and longed for sabbatical in the mountains, everything will be disrupted.
I am still shocked that Thelma hasn’t been adopted. Yes, she is a chewer, but beyond that she is the dream dog that every adopter asks for – good with people (especially children), good with other dogs, crate-trained, not a barker, housebroken, good on a leash, happy at the dog park, friendly, sweet, young, and under forty pounds. She truly IS the sweet spot when it comes to adoptable dogs. Yes, she will require that you Thelma-proof your house, but what great incentive to keep your house tidy?
Alas, she is still here. And I won’t be. So, Ian will be in charge of her and I know that inevitably, despite best intentions, something will get eaten that shouldn’t get eaten. The boys are young adults after all, they can’t be expected to live without permanently installed earbuds, so it’s entirely possible that a few things will slip by them, like the lid to the Tupperware left on the table or the dish towel that didn’t quite make it to the laundry or the mail set too close to the edge of the counter.
I’m very grateful that instead of regular boarding where Daisy has gone for several weekends already this summer, she will instead spend the next three weeks at a new Board & Train partner only twenty minutes from my house. I’m so excited for her and really hopeful that time in a new home environment where ‘mom’ is an expert will help her take the next step in her confidence. What I mostly hope is that it will prepare her for being adopted. It is time that this sweet girl finds her family.
Which just leaves Flannery. I am headed off for three weeks of working on our tiny cabin in the mountains, hiking, and writing. Flannery will go with me. She is great company and seemed to enjoy her first weekend with us there.
This past Saturday, she was keeping me company while I was scrubbing walls in the kitchen, when something outside caught her eye. We both ran to the door to watch a black bear amble through our yard, just steps away from the door and into the bushes. He watched us and we watched him for a few moments and then he sauntered away into the woods. It’s a testament to Flannery’s smarts that she did not bark at the bear, considering that Flannery barks at EVERYTHING.
She also enjoyed flirting with the porch cat, who came with the house. The previous owner of the cabin took everything except this kitty (and a rusty folding chair with his name on it, an old TV, and a bag of potting mix). She is semi-feral and runs from us if we approach, but follows us when we are outside, sleeps on the porch, and waits at the kitchen door early in the morning mewling for food. She also has a kitten who is much more skittish. I am making plans to trap them and have them spayed while I am down there this month.
Flannery has two agility classes left, one before we leave and one next week, which I will drive back to take her to. She really, really loves it, but at $150 for five weeks, it’s not something we can sustain or ask the rescue to pay for. I’m trying to convince my handy husband to build her some equipment, but he’s pretty busy renovating our long-neglected cabin right now. There is a dog park about thirty minutes from our new cabin that has a few pieces of equipment, so we will definitely trek there while on our vaca.
So that’s the latest. It’s unlikely you will be hearing from me on this blog in the next few weeks. But after that I’ll be back and writing and telling you about my September trip to Alabama to visit shelters and learn about their dog situation. If Daisy and Thelma ever get adopted, we will likely foster again, but until then we certainly have our hands full.
Be well. Enjoy your summer. Take your dog for a hike! I’ll be thinking of you! I will try to post some of Flannery’s adventures on Another Good Dog, plus any updates I get on Daisy.
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to know more about the book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, visit 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, and what you can do right now to help shelter animals! You can also purchase a signed copy or several other items whose profits benefit shelter dogs!
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 now