My world revolves around dogs.
They eat up every extra minute in my day. I probably knew that, but it was painfully obvious last Thursday. It was just me and Gracie. The house was so very quiet and weirdly still. I had time on my hands. I even cooked a real dinner.
How is that possible you ask?
Flannery left that morning to go with Nick to the cabin for our work weekend.
I dropped Daisy off at Kat’s for the weekend as I would be heading to the cabin on Friday with
my two indentured servants Ian and his girlfriend immediately after I signed books and gave my talk at a library in Maryland.
The calm was unsettling. I kept glancing out into the sideyard as I worked at my desk, looking for Daisy.
She generally stays in sight of me while I work unless it’s too hot and then she likes to hang out under the porch and just check in on me periodically.
SIDEBAR: The underneath of the porch used to be contained by lattice to keep puppies from wandering under there and not coming out, but when Daisy began using the playyard, she pulled a section off so that she had access to its dark depths.
ANOTHER SIDEBAR: Nearly every foster dog I’ve had seems drawn to the spaces underneath our porch and deck. I’ve often wondered if the damp, dark place seems familiar to them and thus safe.
At regular intervals, Daisy scrambles out of the hole in the lattice, trots over to the window beside my desk and stares blankly at it. She doesn’t look directly at me or even acknowledge my greeting, so I guess the glare of the window prevents her from seeing inside.
She knows when I’m there, though, because why else would she stop at the window so frequently while I work? When I’m not working she doesn’t go near the window. She’s such a pretty dog and when she is frozen there, staring at the window not seeing me, I can study her expression up very close. I often wonder what she’s thinking but haven’t had any real revelations at this point.
Dinner time was extra weird on Thursday because it was just Gracie. No need to utilize gates to separate the diners. Gracie hung close to me the whole day. She and Flannery are fast friends and it’s rare to see one without the other.
Later that evening, though, chaos resumed because my former foster puppy, Lil’ Liza Jane showed up.
We had agreed to babysit her for the week. I’ve decided to begin offering this service to former fosters when it’s possible in exchange for a donation towards the shelters. It’s a win-win-win because I get to reunite with my former foster, adopters know their dog will be loved in their absence, and the shelters get more supplies.
For those of you who have been following this blog for the past year, Liza was the little puppy with the mustache who was born here almost exactly a year ago. She was part of Dixieland’s Songs of the South litter. Dixie was a pregnant mama I brought back with me from my shelter tour last September.
Liza is tall and gangly and still very much a puppy. Her high energy and antics kept us entertained and reminded me why I’m always glad to see my puppies go when they reach eight weeks. They are a lot of work!
We took Liza to the cabin where she and Flannery could not work out a truce, so we learned the careful art of keeping dogs separate in a 900 square foot cabin. Luckily, there weren’t any real threats – Liza is still a puppy, really, and was mostly just plain scared of Flannery. Flannery did her best to ignore her outbursts. Still, we stayed on the safe side and kept them separate.
We took Liza hiking, to visit Dinosaurland, and she had plenty of time in the yard supervising the work and keeping her waterbowl in line.
Liza will be with us for another day, but now that we are home and Daisy is home, the real three-ring circus is in full swing with Daisy in the side yard, Liza in the kitchen, and Flannery and Gracie reunited in the rest of the house.
I suppose that fostering is a lot like the frog in the kettle scenario. You have no idea how hot the water has become because you’ve been living in it. Life with Daisy and Flannery for the last eight months has definitely been a life in the kettle. Daisy remains shy and requires constant adjustments and most of my attention.
The fact that I breezily warn every guest not to touch the head of the ‘little black dog’ and assure them that if they choose to, it’s not so bad because ‘she never breaks the skin’, speaks for itself I suppose.
Add to our odd dog world, a whirling dervish of a puppy, and it seems…..well, pretty much normal for this foster household.
In just over a week, I head south with Nancy Slattery to visit shelters and rescues in Tennessee and Alabama. We hope to raise awareness of the situation in the rural south because I am convinced the tragic circumstances of so many dogs do not exist because people don’t care, it is happening because people don’t know.
If you’d like to follow along, support our work, and help spread the word, please subscribe to the Who Will Let the Dogs Out blog, follow our page on Facebook, or donate to our fundraiser. We’ve just added one more way to help – an Etsy shop! The proceeds all go directly to help raise awareness and purchase supplies for rural southern shelters and rescues. Nancy is adding new products steadily, so if you don’t see something you love, check back.
Thanks for reading!
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