Barkalona, Billie Jean, Breakfast Pups, dog rescue, fostering, puppies, training

A Pup You Don’t Want to Miss

The excitement level in this house is working its way off the charts, so having four puppies and three dogs in our midst just seems appropriate.

Dear friends stopped by Sunday night for an impromptu supper and as we talked, we had to raise our voices over the excited yipping of the breakfast pups (Grits was hiding under the raised bed again – which makes his sisters go nuts. I think maybe they believe he really is gone when he does this.).

When Snoopy jumped up on one friend to assist him with his plate, he laughed and gently nudged him away. And when Frankie’s excitement veered towards the out-of-my-control level, they waited while we crated him.

I love that I have the kind of friends who don’t bat an eye at the dog chaos that has become my life.

The Breakfast pups are sweet, goofy, houndish pups who I am truly enjoying. They are affectionate (with tongues instead of teeth!) and happy and as puppies go, pretty easy to manage. Barkalona (aka Snoopy) is still a dreamboat (although he did figure out how to wiggle under the fence yesterday and had a happy runaround, cautiously checking out the horses, but thankfully, coming when I called!)

They are finding their adopters, and as soon as we get their tummies right, they will begin leaving. (Grits is still available if you’re looking for a super-sweet pup with houndish habits!)  Amongst all the puppy-ness, Continue reading “A Pup You Don’t Want to Miss”

dog rescue, fostering, poop, puppies

I’m Betting on Hound

I have only five days left with these puppies.

DSC_0482

And depending on the weather that will go by in a flash or it will seem like forever.

These babes have decidedly outgrown their tiny puppy room. We finally got them outside for some extended time and they loved it. I invited my favorite photographer to stop over and she got some amazing shots of these pups.

Before I share a few of my favorites, I need to give a shout out to Nancy Slattery! She donates extensive hours to OPH photographing pups and then uploading and editing and posting the pictures to help us get dogs adopted. My pups already have adopters, but I asked her here because a) I knew she’d love to come play with them and b) I wanted these pictures for an upcoming project and c) I haven’t gotten the chance to hang out with her in a while, so it was the perfect ruse.

Nancy brought her daughter Casey with her as assistant lighting director and Casey held a remote flash which is partly how these pictures came out so great. Mostly they came out so great because Nancy is Nancy. (AND if you are ever looking for a professional photographer for your own dogs or yourself, ask me for her contact info. Nancy took my headshot long before I discovered her gift with pet photography. She’s quick, talented, and very reasonably priced.)

Despite my grumbling about the messes they make, these five weeks have flown by and their happy energy and adorableness have gone a long way towards easing us out of the winter that never ends.

Early on, I made a few bad guesses as to their breed, after all they were fuzzy, fat, and delectable; they could have been anything. They are labeled blackmouth cur, and that seems likely—as one person commented on their pictures, they look as if their tails are dipped in chocolate.

The other breed I’m becoming more convinced we’re dealing with here, though, is bloodhound.

Here’s a photo of bloodhound puppies at four weeks from the Fishing Forum next to a photo of a few Chocolate Factory pups at four weeks: Continue reading “I’m Betting on Hound”

fosterdogs, Lucy, oph

Adoption JuJu and Jinxes

So here’s the story I wanted to post last week, but couldn’t because of the jinx factor.

The jinx factor is what happens when I post about a dog’s adopters before they are actually adopted. Seems like the last few times I’ve done this (Whoopi was the latest), the adoption falls through. I was SUPER excited about Lucy’s family finding her, but didn’t want to jinx her, so I held back. Now that she’s happily in her new home with a family who love her, I can share the story I wrote last week and then never posted… Continue reading “Adoption JuJu and Jinxes”

adopters, fosterdogs, fostering, Lucy, Oberyn, oph, puppies, Rooney

50th Times the Charm

Our house is much quieter. (for now)

Rooney finally went home with her new forever mom after a long wait. They met over a week ago and fell in love, but we had to wait for Rooney to finish her antibiotics and be 100% healthy so she could go home. Which she did on Friday. And we all miss her. My little brother will be very happy to know Rooney is in the Air Force now! Her mom is one of America’s finest.

dsc_4523

Before she left, she, Lucy, and Obie had a fun week.

Here’s Obie and Lucy sharing a stick:

And here’s Rooney and Obie not sharing a pumpkin: Continue reading “50th Times the Charm”

Breeds, fosterdogs, Gingersnap, oph, Pit bull, returned dogs, Whoopi

Last Ones Picked…

Many of my foster dogs have come and gone quickly. So quickly, that we barely got to scratch the surface of their personalities. This is not the case with my two current dogs whom I think may still be with us at Christmas.

Not because they are bad dogs – quite the contrary, but here’s the complications involved with either of them finding a forever family quickly….

First, take Whoopi.

DSC_3954
Considering her kingdom

She’s a hit at events. Even a non-dog lover easily proclaims, “Look at the bloodhound!” They’ve all seen them on TV and in the movies, because what screams redneck, hillbilly, sidekick as loud as a bloodhound?

I took Whoopi to the Petapalooza on Sunday and she was wonderful.

Here she is posing with the Mary Kay lady in the next booth (“Mary Kay is so powerful it can even take on these kinds of wrinkles!”) Continue reading “Last Ones Picked…”

fosterdogs, Hadley, oph, Uncategorized

Tipping the Scales

IMG_2162 - CopyI keep wondering at what point the scales will tip for Hadley.

Will this treat, this snuggle, this walk, or this ear rub be the one that makes the difference? Maybe this will be the one that pushes her over the edge into a place where people are good and every sudden movement or noise doesn’t mean the sky is falling.

I figure we have to keep piling up the positive interactions, and at some point she’ll trust us. And then maybe she can begin to trust the world.

As far as I can tell, she’s had only two negative encounters since she’s been in our care. One was Gracie’s initial snarly greeting on her first night. Since then, Gracie has reigned it in. I guess even she senses that Hadley is a fragile soul. The second truly scary moment for her was when my ipad mini fell on the dog bed next to her. It confirmed for her the sky was falling rather than her foster mommy is a bit of a clutz.

At the same time, I know the bubble wrapping is nearly impossible, so there will be a few unintended and inevitable scale tips the wrong way.

It’s been nearly a week and Hadley still spends her days anxiously curled up in one of her three “safe zones”. These are the Frank bed in the kitchen, the dog bed next to my desk, and on the sofa behind the couch cushions (which are flipped down to keep Gracie off the furniture). Continue reading “Tipping the Scales”

Foo Foo, oph, puppies

A Puppy in Paradise

 

DSC_1080

I’m trying to prepare Foo Foo for the weekend. It’s gonna be a biggie. Especially if you’re a puppy. There will be eight (yes eight!) college students camped out all over the house for the weekend. This will be huge for the puppy on so many levels!

First, there’s the obvious food droppage. Foo Foo is the queen of food droppage. In fact, I haven’t needed my robotic vacuum since she was installed in the kitchen because she does regular and thorough sweeps of the floor gathering all crumbs and dust-particles-that-smell-like-food, and bits-of-paper-and-trash-that-could-be-food, which really just leaves dirty socks and school papers. These she chews on as after supper snacks.

I know her breed is listed on her paperwork as “lab-mix” (the catchall phrase for dog rescue I’m learning) and I’ve claimed she looks like a miniature weimeriener (spellcheck doesn’t know what to do with this word, but I know I’ve got it wrong). But I’m gonna go with hound.

This girl is some kind of hound. Nothing eats like a hound and I’ve never met a dog more devoted to food. Here’s a video of Foo-Foo eating dinner. I wish we’d gotten a better one. Sometimes she is so frantic, she shoves the bowl all over the kitchen with her excitement. This time the bowl was pretty stationery.  Addie’s been timing her and so far her top time is 35 seconds start to finish, but I think she beats it on this one since she didn’t have to chase after her food bowl (I found one with rubber grip feet). Continue reading “A Puppy in Paradise”

Uncategorized

When the Easy Choice is the Right Choice

A very wise horse-whisperer friend of mine, a cowboy named Brad, once told me that when training any animal you need to make the right choice the easy choice. This concept was a great help to me while training my independently minded horse and even applied nicely to teenage children. I’ve recently discovered it is an excellent strategy with Carla as well.

Carla has earned the nickname Goldilocks at our house because she likes to try out all the chairs, sofas, and beds in search of the best spot.

In my office….

DSC_8424

On a kid bed…DSC_8423

In the playroom… (amidst the noise)

DSC_8481

In the living room…DSC_8364

On my bed! (this picture gives you a point of reference as to her size – this is a queen size bed) Continue reading “When the Easy Choice is the Right Choice”

Uncategorized

I’m With the Coonhound

Carla and I have gone running several mornings this week. She is an enthusiastic companion. As she has emerged from her time of mourning, her energy has increased. She continues to challenge me to run faster than my well-worn knees would like to travel. (I use the word ‘run’ loosely, it’s more like a ‘jog.’ I just like to say run because it makes it sound much more impressive.) On steeper spots of my regular run when I might normally be tempted to slow to a walk, I can’t bear to ask it of Carla and push on through, sometimes letting her steady pull propel me forward.

There was a time, early in my running career when men in trucks (there are many here in Pennsyltucky roaming about checking their fence lines or looking for a good fishing hole at the early hour at which I typically hit the roads) would slow and note my progress, sometimes even chatting me up. Those days are past now and the only man in a truck who stops to visit with me on my runs is my hay-guy Kevin and we usually just talk about hay.

This week with Carla by my side, pretty much every pick-up truck, mud-splattered four-wheel drive or vehicle built prior to the 1980s slows as it passes me. They aren’t checking out the middle age woman on my end of the leash, they are all about the gorgeous coonhound on the other.IMG_1128

Continue reading “I’m With the Coonhound”

Uncategorized

Mixed Emotions of Foster Dogs and Dog Fosters

DSC_8427After all the exuberant happiness of our last two foster girls, it is quite a different story with Carla. My best guess is that she is mourning. She misses her family. After all, she was with them for four years; it’s a big loss for her.

Every now and again I catch a glimpse of the happy girl that’s buried in there somewhere, but most of her time is spent lying around, looking sad. To be fair, she is a hound and forlorn is the default expression on most hound faces, especially ones with droopy eyes and long ears.

The appetite that we were warned about is not in evidence. She barely eats her meals and refuses all treats. She has yet to attempt to even counter surf (although she has the height and reputation to excel in this sport). When I’m bummed out I don’t eat either, so I get it.

Today she is talking a lot. She gave me some hound mutters when she first woke up and then spent the afternoon standing on the deck barking at the woods – certain there was something afoot in there. Hounds, maybe particularly coonhounds, have a lot to say. Carla was quiet during her first few days, but now she is vocal. Maybe she’s decided we’re worth protecting or maybe she has simply found her voice.

I took her for a run and was delighted to discover that she is an excellent and inspiring running partner. We did the fastest 3 ½ miles I’ve done in months. She was all business, never stopping for her personal business, and only a few times tugging towards an errant squirrel. I truly hope her forever family includes at least one runner.

And maybe a camper or hiker or hunter. She’s all about the woods and most especially, the stream. That’s when I see the real Carla. She lights up and pulls towards the creek when we approach, happily splashing in it as I do my best not be dragged in behind her.IMG_1638

On Monday, Wheat Penny (now Ladki – Hindi for lady) left for the high life as a spoiled only child of a super loving mama. She must have a wind at her back. She is one lucky dog. I spent the day keeping her close, even letting her destroy a pen in honor of her leave-taking. Such a sweet puppy. I will cherish the time we had with her and hope for periodic updates.DSC_8371

At least two people in the last few days have expressed to me how much they wish they could foster, but don’t think they could stand to give up a dog. I’ve thought a lot about that. It does hurt, but for me, it’s a sacrifice worth making so that we can help more dogs. I know there are plenty of great homes out there and people who can love a dog as well or better than me. So I’m willing to be a link between a sad, possibly terminal life in a shelter and a happy forever home even if sometimes that tugs at my heart and leaves a lump in my throat. I don’t have to be everyone’s forever home.

What’s making me re-think this foster idea is Carla. She is almost exactly the dog I’m looking for, the one we spent all those hours visiting shelters in search of. But I don’t want to be a foster fail (foster lingo for a foster mommy who adopts her foster dog). I want to help more dogs. It is very tempting to hold on to Carla. I know we could make her happy here, but I am also certain that there is a forever home out there waiting for her. Someone else looking for a dog just like Carla.

So for as long as we have her, we will love her and nurture her and work very hard to bring out the happy dog I’m certain is there beneath the surface of all her present sadness. Because she is not a young dog (she’s six), she may not be as quick to be adopted. And that’s okay because she is a welcome guest here for as long as she needs us.DSC_8421