And I’m really glad I only have three as I get my puppy-raising legs back underneath me.
After several different set ups, I’ve settled on having a big area (3/4 of the room) for their awake time and a small area (1/4) for bed time, nap time, and get-them-out-of-the-way-so-I-can-clean-without-helpers time.
I have to say that if Marley and Argus were my foster dogs five years ago, they’d be adopted in a snap.
Adoptions, all over not just with OPH or HSSC, have slowed. And while it’s a little frustrating, it’s expected and might just be a good thing.
People are being a bit more careful before jumping into a new dog. As they should be. Having watched Marley mourn the people who surrendered her for her first few days, lying in her crate with a worried look, hesitant to come out, I don’t wish her situation on any dog. So, yes, you should be absolutely sure you are ready to adopt a new pet before committing to one.
Marley has bounced back, as dogs are so good at doing. She is looking much healthier now that we’ve treated her for parasites, gotten her on a healthy diet, given her probiotics, vitamins, and a fancy oil someone donated to help her skin/coat. She’s getting regular exercise, plays with Argus, and has quite definitely turned the corner to reveal her sunny personality.
Argus is still a little suspicious of doors and noises and sudden movements. His first instinct is to cower and worry, but when he feels safe and happy he’s got a serious full-body waggle that always makes me smile. He is one happy boy, slamming the sides of his crate ferociously with his tail the moment I come in the room. His big grin and lolling tongue make him look as goofy as he is happy.
Both these dogs are apartment sized. Sweet, gentle, housebroken, crate-trained, relatively quiet, easily amused with bones or toys, and play well together. All of those factors would have meant they’d get adopted quickly back before the pandemic, before everyone who’d ever considered acquiring a pet got one (and more than a few shouldn’t have).
They are both highly adoptable, easy, cute, fun dogs who will make some family very happy.
So now the trick is to be patient. As I said, they are easy fosters, so lucky me, I don’t mind them hanging around. But I’d still like to get them out my door to their real family before they become too attached. Before they decide that I am their family. Because these sweet pups should not have their hearts broken again.
They are ready. Are you out there? Come and get your pups!
Marley is a six-year-old, 40-pound darling with one blue eye belying some Husky heritage (although her size would tell you otherwise). She’s gentle and sweet and loves to go for walks and adventures. She does best on a front-leading harness. Marley loves to cuddle, take long naps, and chew on hooves/bones. She is spayed and up to date on shots. If you’re interested in Marley, contact the Humane Society of Shenandoah County.
Argus is a one-year-old lab mix (aren’t they all) who weighs close to 50 pounds (but looks much smaller). His breeding is anyone’s guess, but he’s beginning to develop spots, so hound? Dalmation? Some kind of fox terrier? Who knows. He’s a little shy at the offset, but warms up super fast and is a joyful, goofy, boy who still has a lot of puppy in him. He’s excellent at catching treats in his mouth, curious about anything that involves food, and walks really well on a leash. He’s neutered, up to date on shots, and microchipped. If you’re interested in Argus, contact Operation Paws for Homes.
If you’d like to meet either of these darling dogs, or know more about them, feel free to reach out to me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you’ve ever considered fostering, now would be a great time to try it out. Shelters and rescues all over the country are overwhelmed with large numbers of intakes and the same slow adoption rate I’m experiencing. Fostering can truly save lives. By taking a dog (or cat) into your home to foster, you open up a space at a shelter or rescue for another. Reach out to me if you have questions or need convincing!
If you’d like regular updates of all our foster dogs past and present, plus occasional dog care/training tips, and occasional foster cat updates (!) be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.
And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit WhoWillLetTheDogsOut.org and subscribe to our blog where we share stories of our travels to shelters, rescues, and dog pounds.
This weekend we bleached the puppy fences, the crate, and the baby gate that we used with our ‘parvo pups’ last fall one last time and finally stowed them in the attic of the garage. They’d been wiped down with bleach last fall and then left stacked in the corner of our stone porch all winter. Even though they’d been bleached once, I was still wary of them. So afraid that in a crevice or a hinge, parvo virus still lingered.
On Sunday afternoon, Nick and I went to Annette and Randy’s house to pick up Benji and Otis. They had been recovering there ever since being released from the hospital in Purcellville. Annette and Randy know a thing or two about helping parvo survivors. They adopted Kofi, who was only survivor of his litter of ten who broke with parvo. In the past eight years, they’ve fostered about 20 parvo pups, nursing them back to health and their forever homes.
Parvo is so insistently contagious that removing the virus from a home once it is infected is nearly impossible. Annette and Randy have chosen to be a foster home for parvo infected pups to come to recover from the virus. And it’s a great place to recover – warm, welcoming people who are smart and experienced, plus a handful of big, loving dogs who help shepherd sick puppies back to health. It’s a special place.
I’m not sure where to begin to write about this odyssey that began two weeks ago today and is still not over. I’ll try not to ramble, but I’m running on fumes after having spent the night in the puppy pen. I did catch a few hours sleep with puppies nestled against me (or Beethoven sprawled across my neck!).
I didn’t know a lot about parvo before this began—probably what most dog rescue people know. It’s a highly contagious virus that can be lethal, especially to unvaccinated puppies. But now I know so much more.
Having Billie Jean back with us has been really fun. She has an energy that shimmers off her and an eagerness to please that is refreshing. Like most cattle dogs, she has a lot to say and a huge repertoire of sounds. She is great company and an entertaining guest.
Our foster world is pretty quiet these days. And that’s a good thing.
I’m busy getting ready for the release of my new book, 100 Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelter and Rescue. It’s a strange time for all of us, dogs included.