Diary, dog rescue, Dogs with Issues, foster dogs, fosterdogs, fostering, hard to adopt, Long Term Dog

Diary of a Rescue Weeks Eight and Nine: Separation Sometimes Makes You Stronger

I really hope I won’t be writing, Diary of a Rescue Week Fifty-Two, some day.

Daisy is still here, but she is ready to go. She is healthy and happy, and while she still needs a slow introduction to women and won’t go near men, I think she is ready.

Whatever happened to this dog to create such a deeply-rooted fear of men is not something she will simply get over. I don’t know if she ever will, but I do think she will make a wonderful best friend and awesome canine companion for some lucky woman.

As she has gained her confidence, her Continue reading “Diary of a Rescue Weeks Eight and Nine: Separation Sometimes Makes You Stronger”

dog rescue, Dogs with Issues, foster dogs, fosterdogs, fostering, hard to adopt, oph

Diary of a Rescue Week Four: Progress is an Eight-Letter Word

I have to forewarn you that this past week hasn’t been terribly exciting. The progress with Daisy is only incremental and likely will stay that way. Again and again, I shake my head at the depth of pain this dog has endured. Her scars are deeper than any dog I’ve encountered.

It has been a month now since I picked up Daisy on a cold night at the bowling alley where she arrived on a transport from South Carolina.

And yet despite the fact, that during that first week of fevers, labor, delivery, and surgery, literally carrying her 60+ pound body in and out of cars, hospitals, and vet offices, she Continue reading “Diary of a Rescue Week Four: Progress is an Eight-Letter Word”

Dogs with Issues, Flannery Oconnor, fosterdogs, fostering, hard to adopt, returned dogs, training

A Dog’s Eye View

Flannery is such an interesting dog.

The puppies are cute and Hula Hoop is a sweetheart, but Flannery is complicated and funny and just so not-your-average-dog. I adore her. Even though she is nothing like any dog I’ve ever wanted.

She’s little. Only 30 pounds.

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photo: Nancy Slattery

She’s a busy-body – always in the middle of whatever is happening and worming her way onto the couch or dog bed, even if there is clearly no room for her.

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She is the first dog up at the slightest noise. And weirdly, Continue reading “A Dog’s Eye View”

Dogs with Issues, Flannery Oconnor, fostering, Hula Hoop, puppies, returned dogs, training

Returning an Adopted Dog (Flannery, Flannery, Flannery…)

All four dogs like to lounge in my office after their early morning romp in the play yard. Having four that get along so nicely is refreshing. Between that fact and the three quiet, sweet, not-quite-so-messy puppies, fostering has never been so easy.

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Flannery finished her week shut-down and emerged a different dog. When she arrived she was snappy and tense, having proven to all that she will not do well in a home with young children. That wasn’t something I expected when she was adopted a few months ago by a family with five children.

Flannery is such a busy, fun, happy pup, so I was surprised to learn that Continue reading “Returning an Adopted Dog (Flannery, Flannery, Flannery…)”

Dixieland, dog rescue, Dogs with Issues, foster cats, foster dogs, fosterdogs, fostering, Gala, hard to adopt, heartworms, kittens, Oreo, Spay and Neuter

We All Need a Sanctuary

I just dropped off Dixie for her spay surgery and 4Dx test. She stood shaking beside me on the passenger side floor for the entire drive.

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I tried to explain to her that this was for the best and that it would move her a step closer to her new life – the one that won’t include puppies or horrible people who don’t take her to the vet when she breaks her leg (or who possibly broke that leg in the first place).

If her heartworm test comes back negative, Continue reading “We All Need a Sanctuary”

Dixieland, Dogs with Issues, foster dogs, fostering, Pigweed, puppies

No Such Thing as a Perfect Puppy

Just about the time I get tired of so much poop so many kisses, the puppies take off for their forever homes. All eight have forever families waiting to adopt them this weekend. If all goes as planned, I’ll be scrubbing out an empty puppy pen by Sunday afternoon.

The puppies had quite a few final adventures this week. They were visited and loved upon by a group of girl scouts on Sunday afternoon. It was a win-win. The pups were helping the girls fulfill some badge requirements, and the girls were helping to wear out the pups in preparation for their microchipping.

The microchip needle is VERY big and puppies are small, add a bit of squirmy to that equation and Continue reading “No Such Thing as a Perfect Puppy”

dog rescue, Dogs with Issues, foster dogs, fostering, Gomer Pyle, heartworms, training

A Foreigner in a Foreign Land

I got a new foster dog.

And he’s not a puppy.

And he’s not a mama (obviously).

He’s Gomer Pyle… Continue reading “A Foreigner in a Foreign Land”

dog books, Dogs with Issues, fostering, Gala, hard to adopt, owner surrender, shelters

Homeless or Humanless?

I’ve been reading a lot of dog books lately. Partly, it’s because my upcoming book will be my first in this genre, and I want to get to know what’s already out there and the writers who publish these books. But mostly, I’ve become a bit addicted. I love reading about people’s experiences with dogs. It’s not just educational and entertaining, it’s also inspiring.

Rescuing Penny JaneIn Amy Sutherland’s book, RESCUING PENNY JANE, she writes about her experiences volunteering at a shelter, sharing a perspective I’ve never heard since I meet my dogs after they’ve left the shelter. I like to think that there are volunteers like Amy at the shelters where our dogs come from. Sutherland is a shelter volunteer, walking dogs every Friday for a local Animal Rescue League. She’s also a journalist and author, so of course, she overanalyzes and writes about her experience.

While it can be momentarily dense with information on shelter dogs, Rescuing Penny Jane is an exploration of the rescue dog world, but also Sutherland’s story of adopting a difficult rescue dog and sticking it out. She writes that she won’t be one of ‘them’, confiding that in becoming a regular at the shelter she is privy to the staff’s feelings about people who return dogs. And so, even though it strains her marriage, she sticks it out with Penny Jane, a fearful and more or less, feral dog.

Sutherland’s words remind me of my own experience with more than a few of my foster dogs. I write in this blog about the funny, the touching, the messy, and occasionally the heartbreak, but each story eventually culminates in one happy ending after another. What I rarely write about is how sometimes I reach my limit and more often sometimes my husband reaches his limit. There have been teary late-night walks waiting for a foster dog to just pee, already. There have been mornings spent on my knees scrubbing carpets and grumbling mangled curse words and masked threats (who am I going to offend? The dogs?). There have been plenty of words typed and then deleted, planned posts that never materialized, and frustrations outlined in detail for my husband even as I stroke the furry head of the offender. For a few hours, sometimes a day or two, I’m done. “Once this one is gone- no more fosters!”

So when Sutherland’s husband says, “It would be easier to return Penny Jane than to get a divorce.” I don’t laugh. I know he’s not joking.  Sutherland’s frustration and tears are familiar, and I read her story with a lump in my throat. I’ve thought so many of the same things.

There is one comment she makes relatively early in the book that struck me so much that I got up to find a pen so I could underline it. She wrote – Continue reading “Homeless or Humanless?”

dog rescue, Dogs with Issues, Gala, oph

I Don’t Think I Can Save Her

I’ve started and restarted this post again and again. I like to be positive and helpful and inspiring. I really don’t want to be a bummer on your day. But today, finding a positive note isn’t easy. And maybe that’s a message worth writing. Fostering isn’t all roses and puppy breath. It can be hard and it can be heartbreaking.

When we set off on our fostering adventure, my biggest fear was that we would get a dog that would never be adopted.

Lately, I feel as if we are living that fear. Yes, yes, I tell myself, Gala’s family will come. They always do.

But for now, for this week, it doesn’t seem evenly remotely possible.

When I write about Gala, I’ve tried to focus on the positive Continue reading “I Don’t Think I Can Save Her”

Dogs with Issues, fosterdogs, fostering, Gala, Yin and Yang

Looking for Lucy

Arriving home from the vet’s office, where I had just deposited Gala, I called Nick to tell him what was going on and said, “She just can’t catch a break.”

Later after picking her up and watching her sleep off her sedative, I thought more about it. Maybe Gala’s stream of mishaps and misfortunes have more to do with how fully she lives her life than any kind of black cloud hovering over her.

My little brother was the same way. He broke at least five bones (maybe more I lost count) when he was a kid – falling out of a tree house, taking a header over an unexpected wall, pretending to be Evil Knievel. Seems every summer he had a plastic bread bag over his casted arm as we swam at the beach. As a teen he totaled at least three cars. And later he became a fighter pilot in the US Airforce, flying F-15s all over the world including Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I always enjoy his company because it’s never boring and he usually has me laughing so hard I pee myself. Tommy lives his life full-on.

That’s how Gala lives. She has an exuberance for life that may sometimes lead her into trouble, but Continue reading “Looking for Lucy”