Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lucky

This morning I met Ellen to pick up Lucky:-) Freshly bathed, tail wagging, but nervous I could tell he was already attached to Ellen. Lol, for those of you that don't know Ellen, that is a topic we discuss almost weekly at adoption events. We're always trying to figure out what magic Ellen possesses because every dog that comes to her home, be it a day or many months, can barely stand to be away from her!! They look longingly and sometimes will do just about whatever it takes to get to her:-) Lucky did come with me easily, with several squeals, tail still wagging and head down, unsure of himself.

Lucky and I had to make a stop at Pets In the City for dog food before coming home. I took him in with me, just to get him out and he was a hit with the girls that were there! I don't think his tail stopped wagging and oh boy does he have some cute ears when he's perked up! A few dogs came in while we were there and I thought he was going to just bust with joy:-)

This picture is Lucky when we got home to my yard. He's younger than most dogs that I foster, only about a year old, but he's no less traumatized than some of the older dogs that have stayed with me. He's a super friendly, calm boy who does not demonstrate that he's only a year old. He's a fearful boy which makes me think that someone, somewhere did not treat him well. When we got home I really discovered just how fearful he is. For those of you that foster, you know that even the most well potty trained dog can have an accident on his/her first visit to a new house where there are many, MANY smells from dogs past (and current.) Well, he started to do a little piddle and I immediately and quite loudly said no (which is typical for me when trying to get my dogs to stop doing something inappropriate.) Did I regret that:-( He dropped to the floor like a commando with a squeal and plaintiff eyes looking up at me begging him to forgive him for whatever transgression he may have committed. And no, I'm not exaggerating. This dog has clearly lacked the good life that he will now have. He has come a long way in just the few days he was with Ellen and her crew. I can see I'll have to take a much more gentle approach working with this guy.

We went outside to potty and meet my crew. He sure did love that!! It was like a reunion of old friends. It's clear to see that right now, Lucky is most confident when with canine buddies. And being the handsome boy that he is, my girls couldn't get enough of him! That's always the hard part, introducing my girls to new dogs. Cody could care less and just wants to know who he gets to play with now. My girls are more skeptical at first. Lexy, especially can be quite jealous. Though she seems to be getting over her female aggression, there's no doubt that she has always preferred the males:-) Lucky is not a fan of the camera. . .at all! So it may be a while before I can get him to show his happy side in a picture. Rest assured, we'll get there:-) Right now he's snoozing on one of the dog beds, exhausted I'm sure from all the goings on today.

I want to commend Ellen's granddaughters, Echo and Sadie, for a job well done. Lucky is going to be a wonderful addition to someone's home. Of course, I'm not surprised. After all, it's in their blood!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs

I've been saying that for years, but little did I know there is a book of that title out there. For Christmas, a friend of mine got me this book and I was in tears (not sad really, but reminicent tears:-) before I even opened the book. The cover reminded me of Chester with his gray face and soulful eyes. That dog was only with me for such a short time, but had SUCH an impact on me. I sure loved that old fart!

The beginning of the book is kind of a tribute to his old dog Harry. The rest of the book is full of pictures and anecdotes about older dogs ranging in age from 10-17. The pictures are all in black and white. Each and every dog is different, each and every one someone's loved pet. I have to say that this is definitely one of my favorite (if not my favorite now) books of all time! If you have not seen this book and you love old dogs, you have GOT to check it out!!

You can see it here: http://www.amazon.com/Old-Dogs-Are-Best/dp/1416534997

Leo came out with flying colors!

My little guy, Leo, went through his surgery just fine!! I thought it would be okay, but it always feels better when they are home safe and sound. Never ceases to amaze me how quickly animals bounce back from illness and surgeries. I put him back in his cage with his bro a couple of hours after he came home. He wasn't terribly happy alone and wasn't ready for me to hold him yet. That was all it took. They snuggled up together and off to sleep they went. Tonight he's rambling all around like nothing ever happened. Like he doesn't have a naked belly with an incision that's glued shut there! She's I only wish I was that good about getting around when something like that happens!!

Anyway, now that Leo is on the mend, we'll be getting another foster tomorrow. You can check him out here: http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=15407219

He's a special little guy. Handpicked by two little cuties (Ellen's Granddaughters:-) and named Lucky. I can already tell from those eyes that he's going to be a sweetheart. The picture of him lying in the crate looking off to the side is one of those that makes you go, "AAAAAWWWWWWW!"
I'll be picking him up in the morning and introducing him to my gang. It will be a while before we get to adoption events. I have to take care of some things, but if anyone is interested in meeting him, just contact the e-mail on the petfinder page. He is available for adoption now. I can always make arrangements to meet for anyone interested in meeting him!

I can't wait to meet him!! I've been spoiled with the last few dogs I've had. They've been so easy to have around! Haven't had a lab mix in the house since Chester *sniff*:-) So much for taking a break from fostering, lol. I keep telling myself that it's time or I need to do it, but then I see those faces and realize that it really is wonderful to meet these new creatures and be a part of helping them to trust and love without fear again. Sometimes I think it keeps me human. It constantly reminds me that while there is a lot of darkness in the world, there is even more light!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rats!


No, really, rats! These are my two boys, Butler and Leo. I mentioned them a few posts back. I need to find a good pic of their bro, Nyoka. He is no longer with us. He was also VERY camera shy, which is unfortunate as I don't have as many pics as I'd like to have. Now I know that rats aren't for everyone and I respect that. It's a shame that so many myths and negative press have created fear and dread when people think of rats. Oh, I've experienced everything with these guys, from, "Where's the cat?" to, well, yes, screams from adults when I take them to school (have learned to cover the cage well before taking them in.) Course the kids love them. they haven't been predjudiced with poor information just yet.

Don't get me wrong, you're not supposed to go out and catch a wild rat for a pet any more than you are supposed to take a wolf from the wild to be your dog. A wild animal is a wild animal and should not be taken in as a pet. However, the local humane society, reptile centers (who would otherwise feed the little guys to their snakes. Don't get me started. There is NOTHING natural about putting a prey species in with a predator when there is no chance of escape! My personal opinion. Course I believe that snakes are wild animals and should be left alone as well, but I won't get into that.) I even daresay that there are actually reputable breeders out there for rats, but as with dogs only a very small percentage actually cares about the health and temperment of the rat. Most breed carelessly to make a fast buck.

Anyhoo! So these guys are just as important to me as my poochies! Tomorrow, the little red eyed boy is going in to have a tumor removed from his abdomen. I've been superiorly lucky with these two. They will be 2 years old in a week and have been healthy their whole lives. Rats are amazing pets, as smart as any dog I've come across (and a few people, *ahem*I digress yet again:-(
When I first brought rats into my house, it amazed me how social and intelligent they are. It also amazed me that they have many of the same illnesses and take many of the same medications as humans to treat these illnesses. Hence the tumor removal. Rats are quite prone to tumors unfortunately. 2 -3 years is a good lifespan for a pet rat (they're lucky to live a year in the wild.) but just like our other pets, it is heartbreaking to lose them. So I'm hoping for good thoughts for my little guy as he goes in to have his tumor removed. I've had several rats that had surgery and do just fine, but I still worry about him. Leo has been my buddy since the day I brought him home. He's the only one out of the three (all are biological siblings by the way) who would come to the cage door every single time I opened it and he would practically beg to bt picked up! Believe it or not, they smell really good! They also have the softest fur. You'd never think that from a creature who is known for scavanging and freaking everyone out. If you think about it, you would smell and look bad too if you spent all your time outside foraging for food whereever humans left it lying around! Guess we all better count our blessings, eh?
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 28, 2009

I think it's a record

Betsy and Abby came home with me the Friday before Christmas. Today they are settled in their new home, happy as two little bugs in a rug. The number of applications was more than ever for a single dog for me, much less a pair. The choices were quite hard, but I think they got the best fit. Yet here we are a week later and they have been placed. They will be loved and will remain sisters for the rest of their lives. *sigh* Wouldn't it be nice if they all ended this way?

So with the girls placed my pooches are taking a little doggie vacation--at home with no other dogs! Don't tell them though, there is a dog right now who will be visiting the vet soon to get neutered and he'll be coming home with me on Wednesday to await his new home. Boy they are going to be irritated with me!:-) But as with the rest, they will take him in, teach him some manners and then settle in as they always do. After what has been one heck of a rough year, it is so nice to end 2009 on a happy note!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

From Mo, the happiest reindeer:-)
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What a pair. . .



I sure do hope that the last couple of days is a sign of what next year will be like. I've received more interest and applications for these two girls, Betsy & Abby, than I have for any other dogs I've fostered, ever! I don't know if it is timing, the Christmas spirit or something else, but these lucky girls have many wonderful homes hoping to take them after Christmas this year! What's even better is that it is looking like the girls will be able to be placed together. That so rarely happens when we get a pair from the same home. Often they have to be separated. We do what we have to in order to make sure that each dog has the best possible situation, but things don't always work out the way we'd like. We are very fortunate this time:-)

The hard part now is figuring out which would be the best fit for the girls. It won't be an easy choice and I'm glad that's not something I have to decide alone. That's one of the many great things about working with a great group. We can bounce ideas off of each other, help each other with choices such as these and support each other when things go well (and sometimes when they don't).

Regardless, I am happy to have this kind of pressure, really. It sure beats having no interest for months and months at a time and wondering why it is that others can't see the amazing personality in the dog(s) that I am fostering. Been there, done that all too often. I do hope that those that are not chosen to be the home for these particular dogs will consider our many other great dogs looking for a place this year. I can't think of one dog that we currently have as a foster in the whole group who wouldn't love to come home with any of these great families. Wish us luck with our decision. It definitely won't be an easy one!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Any more miracles left?


Yup, this is a picture of a dog before he was taken in, cleaned up and given a real home and a real chance. At 9 years old, this is a picture of Mo when he was picked up from the Polk County property. Hard to believe that these pics are both of the same dog, eh? Well, it has recently come to my attention that there are still 6 more dogs left there that Community Partnership for Pets is still trying to find homes for. Pretty amazing, though, when you think that they started with over 100 dogs there. They reached out to folks in their own area and across the country to try to help these dogs. As wonderful as it is that the rest have been helped, it breaks my heart to think of the 6 that are left. Buzz going among the group is to try to see if we can't get a few more of them up here. They deserve the same good luck that their buddies were lucky enough to have. We've had a few miracles happen this year with so many of our dogs. Are there a few more out there to help these last few find a place to call their own???

Monday, December 21, 2009

No pictures tonight

So I don't have any pictures to post, but I do have a picture to describe. I would use my camera, but the second the pooches hear the lens pop out, they are up and gone:-) I'm sitting here (knowing full well I should be doing something else!) just watching the critters in my home. Oh, the tv is on, but the news is not nearly so appealing as watching the dogs as they sleep and dream! My dog Squirt is all cuddled up on her dog bed, covered in one of the blankets. I think of her beginnings and I can't help but shudder to think what would have happened had she not left that tick infested campground so many years ago. Now she's living in a cozy little house, with her own bed. She used to be so dependent on me, fearing if I left her sight. She's now a confident senior girl who knows what she wants AND how to get it! Woo, can she be a sassy one. She can also be as gentle as a soft breeze. She's cleaned many a tear, that one. . .

Abby, one of the new dogs visiting my house has fallen madly in love with what was Jester's favorite bed! All fleece lined and puffy on the inside, it's just a little rectangle with high sides. I don't even think it cost me all that much. Even my big girl Lexy sticks her big butt in it once in a while:-) Little Abby is too cute! A small girl, she's already pretty low to the ground. Cracks me up how she can walk right under most of my dogs. She gets herself in that bed and rolls herself up and looks just about as cozy as any creature can be. I guess it's really a good thing that Jester got adopted. He'd have a real fight on his paws for this bed! Only weeks ago she was at her previous home, most likely being loved on by her previous owner. Well, that ended when her owner passed away and she ended up in a cage at a shelter. Now that she's here, it's not home, but it's warm and it's comfortable. No worries for her.

Betsy, for some reason, loves to sleep on the hard floor! I think it must be because it's cool and she has such a thick coat, she might be a bit warm. She really put out her funny side tonight. My little dog's dog whisperer, Cody, had her playing and running through the house like a puppy! She's crashed out now, napping away. Again, one who so recently had her own home, now comfortable here, but not still quite sure of herself.

Every once in a while they seem to take turns popping up a head to take a peek at what is going on, but sure enough, that head goes down, they roll a bit, then snuggle their heads back into the warm spot where they were sleeping before. I don't know why such simple things like this fascinate me, but they do. The simple beauty of something so ordinary as taking a nap, watching them sleep with such comfort, it's like listening to the right song or smelling something that reminds you of a good moment in life. It is really true what they say. It's the simple things that make life big:-)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Betsy & Abby



































So just when I thought it would be a quiet few weeks, these two had to cross my e-mail. A pair of girls whose owner had recently passed away, they were in a tight spot. Betsy, the sheltie, is somewhere between 7-10 years old. Abby, the little black dog (scottie mix?) is 12. Could someone please help these girls for Christmas. Now as much as I love what I do with the dogs, I knew it was really time for me to take a break, but something about these faces just would not leave my head. I kept waiting and waiting, hoping that someone else could help. While there was room for one, there was just no room for both anywhere. With it being Christmas and all, I just couldn't leave them behind. I realize that the chances of them getting adopted together are pretty much slim to none, but I figure the time that they are being fostered should be together to make it less stressful for them.

So Friday night, I went and picked them up! The pictures do not NEARLY do them justice. They are soooooo adorable! Both are friendly, though Abby is definitely the social director of the two. Betsy warms up quickly but is very shy at first. Both are completely house trained. Both do well on a leash, ride well in the car and seem to like people of all sizes and genders:-) Abby loves to snuggle up next to me on the couch and Betsy puts that sheltie head in my lap and give me the longing stare that only shelties do so well. It's hard to believe that Abby is as old as she is. She's a spunky little one who still likes to play with other toys and loves a good squeaky toy. Betsy is a playful little gal as well who doesn't seem to quite know what to do with the toys, but she sure seems like she would like to learn. Both are very happy, healthy girls, especially considering all of the changes they have gone through in the last couple of weeks. So my house has a few more for Christmas? What's a holiday without a big family to share it with:-)

Time Sure Flies

I didn't realize just how much time has passed since my last post! It's been a busy month. There have been a couple of rough patches, but oh boy, is it coming to a close on a high note! My two other fosters, Mo & Jester have been adopted! I can hardly believe it:-) Both went to outstanding homes. Jester even went to someone who had adopted from St. Louis Senior Dog previously. We sure do love that! As all the dogs do, both of these boys wiggled their way into my heart. While it is briefly sad to let them go, that feeling is soon replaced with the joy of knowing that they are now someone's loved focus. Around here, they aren't able to be the main focus since I do have my own babies to take care of. I learned long ago, in order to be able to foster, you can love them and care for them as your own, but never forget who was here first. My dogs tend to get very upset, one literally becoming ill, when I forget that little rule. So I do my best to always live by it.
Anyway, congratulations to Mo and Jester and their new families! I know that they will be loved and appreciated for years to come.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Jester Teaches Mo a New Trick:-)

Those of you that have dogs that snore know how funny it can be to be sitting in utter silence, enjoying the brief moment while all are sleeping when suddenly a snorting noise fills the air. Jester has had the whole snoring thing down to an art. He even has different snores depending on how he's laying (I know, sad that I even know that right??). So tonight, I'm working on my computer and of course there is snoring so I assume it's Jester. I keep working and notice that the snoring is constant (not typically the way Jester sounds). I peek over the table and what do I see? Mo, sprawled out across the floor just snoring away. Figured he must have learned that from Jester while I was at work. I tell you, I'm going to have to have a talk with that old Jester who, by the way, fell asleep in my lap while we were sitting on the couch the other night. All four paws in the air, I kid you not! Mo may be practicing his lounging, but he's still an amateur. Don't think he'll ever master utter contentment like the King of snoozers. But I sure do enjoy watching him try. . .

Mishka finds a home

Er, well, I guess I should say, "Mishka gets to stay right where she is!":-) Mishka, the pretty much perfect dog, has found that those that could best care for her were right in front of her nose, literally. Betsy and Jim, friends of mine, had originally agreed to foster Mishka when they found out that I really needed someone to take her since she was at the vet on borrowed time. The owner wanted to put her down since she didn't want her anymore (can you believe that?!?!?) and the vet talked her into allowing Mishka to go with a rescue if one could be found. My Lexy has always been aggressive with other females, so staying here wasn't an option (or so I thought at the time.) Foster homes were packed to the hilt, as always, so lucky for Mishka she went home with Betsy the very next day. As the weeks went by, it was obvious just how much Mishka adored her foster parents and how much they adored her. Thing was, they wanted to make sure she had the great life she deserved. Mind you, she gets to live in an nice apartment where, I might add, there is a dog park on the premises, she goes for daily walks, regular baths and she has a kitty companion. Did I mention lots of love and belly rubs? Can't really imagine a better situation, really, but I didn't want to pressure them. (Though I did ask them regularly "are you sure????:-)"
Fast forward to the week of Thanksgiving. Betsy and Jim went out of town to visit his folks. Mishka, we earlier discovered, was pretty much loved by all dogs who met her, including my bossy, female aggressive dog, Lexy! When they dropped Mishka off, she literally sat and stared at the front door for more than 10 minutes after they left. Heartbreaking, right? Sometimes our fosters get as attached to us as we do to them. But once again, I digress. Mishka did just fine here with me through the week. I noticed that she had become more playful since I had last seen her (she's always been very subdued:-) The week goes by with a few texts to check on Mishka of course and Mishka is still not adopted. A brief e-mail that came Friday commented on just how much they missed Mishka while they were out of town and that they were really thinking about keeping her. When they called to pick her up Sunday, I suggested that she go ahead and stay with me since she was getting along so well with my group and it would make getting her to adoptions easier. Plus, I wanted to get her to the vet the next day for a check up anyway. Betsy paused for a moment at the other end and agreed dutifully that that might be best. I could tell that the wheels were spinning:-) No more than 20 minutes passed by and my phone rang. It was Betsy and Jim. They decided that they wanted to formally adopt Mishka and could they please come get her that night because they'd been looking forward to seeing her all week and all the long ride home (from Wyoming!) Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder:-) Of course! I said. Mishka was so happy to see them and let me tell you, I didnt' even get a look over the shoulder as she pranced out the door, lol.
So now Mishka is happily where she belongs. Betsy and Jim have their baby, and I can't stop smiling, because, finally, the nearly perfect dog has found her forever home at last. . .Doesn't get much better than this!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Things to be thankful for. . .

Yes, this IS picture of two adorable, fuzzy little rats and no, they are not for adoption. They are my little critters and I love them dearly. In this picture they are greatly enjoying their portion of the Thanksgiving dinner:-) Bourbon apple & sweet potato casserole, pork loin (just couldn't do turkey this time) and some green beans almandine. Not too bad for a couple of rodents, eh? Of course, all the dogs enjoyed the meal as well. You might say that I spent this Thanksgiving a little differently than most. Specifically, I spent it free of other humans. Don't get me wrong, I love my family and friends. This year though, I wanted to really stop and reflect on the many things that I am thankful for that I all too often take for granted. My animal companions. My dogs and rats put up with much from me. My long hours at work, tolerating a variety of different dogs that come through the house and of course, me:-)
Today I thoroughly enjoyed really just spending time observing the little things that happen every day that I usually don't have time to notice. Such as how I love to watch my rats when they are eating. They really are masters at what they do. Chewing things into perfect little bits then going for more. At almost 2 years old, these boys are really quite spry for their age. Their brother passed on nearly a month ago. He was not so lucky to be blessed with their overall good health. Then there are my dogs. It was cold and rather breezy today. Just looking out the window at my Lexy, I noticed just how long her hair has gotten and how gorgeous she is when it blows in the wind. She really is a beautiful dog. She fell asleep on one of the dog beds earlier today. She rarely does that. She looks like a pup when she sleeps. then there is Squirt. Once an extremely frightened, yet aloof pooch, she has grown into a gentle, trusting soul. I always say that it was her eyes that made me bring her home. She still has those eyes. I swear sometimes I can hear what she's saying when she sits and stares at me. She'll take her paw, put it on my arm and just look at me. Another work of art that nature sent to me.
Cody, on the other hand, is nowhere near as dignified as my older girls. He is a rambunctious little critter that refuses to allow me NOT to notice him.
When Chester was here (sure do miss that old fart) the dogs couldn't have their stuffed toys out. My girls have never been chewers, but Chester, God love him, could shred a toy into a fine haze across the floor (as all good labs do:-) in about 5 minutes. Well, this week I pulled out the toys again and Cody thought he had died and gone to doggy heaven!!! There is one squeaky toy that we used to play with every day when he first came to me several years ago. It was our routine. Every day I would come home from work, and the first five minutes where devoted to throwing this dirty, chewed up little stuffed toy with a rope on it. He would get soooo excited and keep coming back for more. Then he was happy to settle down and drive me crazy with the dang squeaker in the thing! Now he's got it back and loves playing fetch with it again. He was okay with the heavy rubber things that Chester couldn't chew up, but they just weren't the squeaky toy:-)
Looking at the fosters I have here, I just keep wondering how they ended up in the situations they were in. All the dogs in my house, including my own, were at some point either neglected or dumped--and for stupid reasons too. I just don't get it. Jester spent the day between sleeping and coming over to me for some snuggles. I rarely get the time to just be still for any length of time and enjoyed seeing him seek out the attention. He's not a licky dog, but at one point he even very carefully licked my foot. I had to laugh because I thought it was another of the dogs, but there was Jester looking very serious about what he was doing, lol. Mishka is such a beauty. She has those burgundy brown eyes like my Lexy and stunning little eyelashes. If you even get your face close to her, she will give you big kisses on your cheek. When she's happy, which is pretty much all of the time, she wags her tail. She's got this curly tail that hangs over her back and it just bounces back and forth and is just adorable! And of course, there's Mo. This boy is sooo starved for attention, that sometimes I feel badly that he's stuck in a house with so many other animals. He gets along with everyone (and plays hard with my Cody). But if he has a choice, he will literally sit next to me with his head on my lap and let me pet him as long as I want. He is not a crazy, licky dog either he's just very still and almost serene. We think this guy must have been in a home at one time, because he really does have great house manners, but his long stint on the chain very nearly broke him, I think. You can see it in his eyes when you take the time to look. He's just so happy to be free and have someone to love him and pay attention to him. He doesn't have a lot of confidence yet, but he's working on it.
All in all, I feel like this has been an amazing Thanksgiving. For once, I just refused to worry about what has to be done tomorrow. I didn't stress about not getting the house cleaned up. I didn't feel guilty about leaving the dogs at home, staring at me as I walked out the door. And I didn't feel guilty that I chose to spend this Thanksgiving alone. Because really, I wasn't alone. I was in very interesting company. I just might do this again next year:-) I hope you were as lucky as me to count the blessings you have right in front of you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What a Stinker!

So this morning, even before the sun comes up, I'm up and letting the dogs out. I had spent some time playing with Mo and Cody before letting them out. Lexy and Squirt rarely want to play in the morning and Jester usually sleeps until I make him get up. So as I let the dogs out, I notice Jester isn't with the group. I go to his usual napping spots- - -no Jester. I even checked twice, still no sign. At this point, I'm starting to get worried. I know he didn't go outside with the other dogs. Then I felt a panic come on when I thought that just maybe I might have left him outside overnight! So in my jammies and slippers I search my yard (it's still dark mind you and I'm worried he's frozen to death, though I don't think it got below freezing last night), under bushes, by the shed in the corners, under the patio furniture- -no Jester. Okay, so I'm just about hyperventilating now. I ran back into the house and searched again, nothing. Went outside again, nothing. It's 6:30 in the morning, I'm in tears thinking I've lost this poor, sweet, old dog somehow and I turn around and what do I see in my back door window?? Yup, you guessed it, Jester, the little stinker. He's looking up all sleepy eyed and cozy, I guess trying to figure out what all the whistling and clapping is and why the door keeps opening and closing. Apparently, he decided to climb up over a paint can and onto my laundry basket (note: please ignore the laundry, and remember this dog was dumped because he wouldn't do stairs? Whatever. . .) I passed him a bunch of times and didn't even notice. Anyway, once again, Jester makes me smile and I continue to wonder how anyone could ever let this funny little dog go. Of course, once all the commotion was over, you can see that he curled up and went back to sleep. I on the other hand was wide awake.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You won’t have to struggle to get up each time. You won’t have to limp as you walk. You won’t have any trouble seeing or hearing now. You won’t have kidney disease. You won’t have back legs that soon won’t work anymore. You won’t have a hard time sitting down because it hurts. You won’t have to worry about being alone when your time comes anymore. . .

I will remember the first time you climbed into my car and jumped up front to give me a big, fat, slobbery lick on my cheek. I will remember how you were always the first to greet any person at adoptions or at home. I will remember the shadow that constantly followed me through the house even though sometimes I would try to sneak by so as to not wake you up. I will remember how you still wanted to play fetch, even when you could barely walk. I will remember how you would snuggle your head to me when I would give you a hug. I will remember your funny “aroo!” bark when it was time to eat. I will remember how you panted hard, almost smiling when you got excited about a walk, playing or anything that you really liked. I will remember how soft your fur was. I will remember how great it was to see your crooked little tail wag. I will remember how comforting it was to rub my face in your fur. I will remember how you loved your ears to be rubbed.

I could go on and on about what I will remember, but the point is that I will always remember you. Thank you for bringing such joy to my home.

Chester passed away on Monday, November 16 2009.



Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Jester



Jester just continues to take such funny pictures. The one at the top reminded me of an old Seinfeld episode with George. Those of you who used to watch know exactly what I'm talking about. Of course, Jester was more spread out, but moved when I grabbed the camera:-) Now will someone please tell me why he hasn't found a forever home yet? Funny, friendly and low maintenance, what more could you ask for??

Yup, best buds

The other day I wrote about how Chester and Mo were good friends. To prove the point, I was sitting in the living room tonight with the dogs. Chester made some kind of funny noise (as old dogs do!) and Mo came running over and immediately sat down and watched him. I thought that was quite adorable. Once he realized Chester was sleeping again, he laid down next to him and crashed himself.

No luck

Well, none of the pooches got adopted today again. Sometimes it just makes me sad that the dogs don't find permanent homes. There are so many great dogs in the group. Of course I'm a bit biased about my own fosters:-) Got a few better shots of Mishka after the event. We thought we had a family for her, but it didn't quite work out. She's so pretty! And has the gentlest personality. Maybe next time. . .

Thursday, November 12, 2009

One more



Okay, last one for tonight. Thought I'd catch up since I missed a couple of days. I have to say, blogging is new to me, but I'm really enjoying it. Anyway, in my posts, I keep referring to "my guys" when I write. Well, here are 2 more of my guys. The brown/black girl hiding in the bushes is Squirt. Found her back in 2000 when I went camping with a bunch of friends and their dogs. She was sick, tick infested (literally we stopped counting after we pulled 200) and as it turned out pregnant. Long story short, she had 9 beautiful puppies, which I still can't believe because she was so small. She almost died, but for the help of the whole neighborhood. Money was especially tight for me then and, well I needed help figuring out how to take proper care of her because I had no experience with sick animals really. (I've got that covered now!) After lots of love and care from the dog friends on Rosa Ave, she pulled through and has been healthy (and bossy!) ever since. She's a gentle soul. She is the mama of all the dogs really. She doesn't play with them, doesn't really want them near her and all it takes is a couple of quick growls and nobody messes with her again, lol. But she is sleek and loves to have her belly rubbed. She's at your complete mercy:-)
I snapped this picture of my Lexy , black/gray girl, just the other day. I swear I could almost hear her giggling saying, "She'll never find little old me hiding behind this great big leaf." It was even funnier when I sent the pic out and a friend e-mailed me writing the exact same thing I was thinking. You have to know Lexy. She's an amazing dog. I got her in the fall of 1999. She was this funny looking, spotted little thing with very little hair (who knew she'd become a great big furball!) She was the hobo of the neighborhood and ended up living with me. She was the first dog I had just after I divorced. She was/is my best pal. Pretty much everyone I met after I moved into the neighborhood was because they know Lexy from running around! I could go on and on about the ways she has influenced my life, but I could never really put into words how much I love this dang dog. She and Squirt have helped me through the deaths of both of my parents, family drama, illness and many stressful times. She always knows just what to do. If I'm happy she bounds around looking back at me to make sure I see her. She will come and swat my leg for a pet or to play. If I'm sad she lays down by my feet and waits. If I'm mad, lol, she's nowhere to be found because she probably did something:-) Don't really know how I would have made it this far without her.
"They say I saved you, but it was really you who rescued me." This is a quote that I've seen around talking about rescuing animals. I think that this is often quite true. . Another of my favorite quotes is:
"Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.", --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I guess that's enough mush for tonight:-)


In my other post I was talking about how my guys are good about welcoming the new dogs into the house. One of the reasons is that my Cody (the blonde chihuahua mix pictured) is what I have been calling the dog's dog whisperer. He's been able to take just about any scared dog and make him/her feel more comfortable in the house. Of course, there are a few that have attached themselves to Chester (on the bed). Mo is one of those. Chester was curious about Mo from the start, even jealous I would say. Now they make a point to lay together and are rarely apart if Mo is sitting still:-)
There was one other dog that Chester bonded to even more. Broke my heart too. A beautiful dog named Trinity was with me for a short time. She and Chester were literally inseparable. They went outside together, slept by each others side, ate together, you name it. He adored her as she did him. Trinity got adopted and Chester actually was depressed after she left. It was the saddest thing! Poor guy moped around looking for her for over a week. Eventually my guys perked him up. There's no being sad for long around Cody:-) Then Trinity came back to stay with me for a bit. He was soooo happy! Unfortunately she passed away and both Chester and I were depressed for a bit, but once again, another comes in needing a new place and life goes on. Lucky for me that dog was Jester. He has no idea just how much he can brighten someone's day. So if anyone tries to tell me that dogs,etc. don't communicate, I just smile, disagree and remember that not everyone has had the good fortune to live their lives with animals and look at them for what they are. . .living, breathing, feeling beings. Not human, but simpler, without baggage seeing things for what they are on a day to day basis. Oh, to have that view of life! Sure would make things easier. (Disclaimer: This is my wholehearted opinion and I can give many years worth of anecdotes if anyone doubts it:-)
Mo is getting more comfortable with the camera. Of course, he doesn't really have a choice:-) I'm sure my dogs have already let him know that he might as well deal with it. You know, people look at me like I'm nuts when I mention how my dogs "talk" to each other. But anyone who has a dog or especially more than one dog knows it's true. All living beings communicate in some way or another, right? My guys never fail to amaze me in the way they interact. And they always welcome the new guys into the pack. More about that later. . .

Mo is getting to be more like a puppy every day. This morning when I let them all out, he just started running circles in the yard. It always cracks me up to see this. Complete joy and happiness with a tail, that's Mo. He is ready to find a forever home where he can have more attention. He's even starting to enjoy being on the leash because he knows it's not for something bad anymore. He instigates play and is a good listener. So far he always comes in when I call him. I can't get my old girls to do that like they used to without a bribe! Little stinkers have trained me well. . .

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Handsome Fellow















Chester is quite a handsome fellow. He's been here since around March. Since then he has sure shown what a loving little guy he is. Chester's lived a hard life. I call him my "old fart" or my little old man:-) When he first came, his legs were skinny and his belly was a little bloated. Reminded me of a little old man. He even has a smoker's cough in the morning, HA! Since then, due to some physical issues we discovered, his belly is less bloated and his legs have put a bit more muscle on them. He's on a special diet now since his kidneys are in bad shape, but he's still as sassy as ever.
Sure did give me a scare this morning. When I got up he was on his big round doggie bed. Looked comfortable at first, but then I noticed his legs were sticking straight out underneath him and his right leg was cold. Luckily his legs were fine but it made me realize that time with him is sure precious. Some days I truly wonder how he even walks at all with his legs in the shape they are in, but he keeps on going. He even lets me help him now and then, but he's an independent stubborn old boy when it comes to things like that. Otherwise he's a mellow fellow, with lots of life in a broken body that can't keep up with his spirit. . .

Suppertime!

I have visions of Snoopy from Charlie Brown dancing around with his little red bowl at suppertime. Jester doesn't exactly
dance, but he does bounce up and down a lot and spins and barks with excitement at each meal. It's like the first time he's eaten every time:-) He's even got the routine down. I have a food aggressive female so fosters have to all be fed separately from her. He knows to run to the bathroom so that he can eat in "private".
As much as I get stressed at dinnertime (try walking around in a small house with multiple dogs, one of which does not walk well, banging into your legs the second you touch a bowl or 6:30 comes around, whichever comes first) I can't help but laugh as all are clamoring to get to their food first. It is so hard to complete a task when you are laughing. Reminds me of when I was a kid. My grandma lived down the street and I was there with my little sister. We were maybe 11 and 7 (I was the older one). She did something, can't remember what and I started to chase her. She went running down the street, screaming and flailing her arms like she was on fire. LOL, I was mad at first, but she looked so ridiculous that I couldn't help but laugh. Of course you can't run when you are laughing. So dinner is sort of of like that. Well, maybe not, but that's what it makes me think of!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Just for fun:-)


No forever home yet

Here are 3 of my boys crashed out. Jester just happened to pop up when he heard the camera click. They are wiped out! Mo went to his first adoption event today. He did pretty well, but didn't find a home:-( Sadly, neither did Jester or Mishka. Their time will come soon enough I suppose. I'm in no rush to get them out the door. I'd just love to see them in a home. I think that rings true for most fosters. You fall in love, but let them go because you know you can't help anyone else if your house is already full of dogs.
The third dog lying next to Mo is Chester. He's my 14-15 year old baby. Of course, don't give away the secret. He has no idea that he's not young anymore. His body lets him know all too often, but he has adapted. I wish that I was always so uncomplaining as Chester. He takes his aches and pains with dignity. Heck, he even continues to get up and follow me all over the house in typical lab fashion.
Chester is a permanent foster. In other words, he's not going anywhere but right here. I wouldn't call him a failed foster so much. Of course, I am glad I am keeping him, but he has something called degenerative mylopathy. In other words, his back legs will eventually be paralyzed. He also is in the early stages of kidney failure. I couldn't bear the thought of him dealing with all of this and adjusting to yet another home. A friend of mine even built a ramp in my yard for the one step he could no longer get up and down. I had just had surgery and couldn't lift him up and down anymore. Now I don't have to. He's still unsteady on his feet at times, but he manages just fine.
Sometimes I think of him as the group's dog because he has won his way into so many hearts with his soulful eyes and happy attitude. I'm the lucky one who gets to see him every day though:-) Wouldn't trade him for a million dollars, literally. No amount of money could replace love and loyalty like that.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Piper Comes Back

I picked up this gal this evening. She's a little chihuahua with the softest coat I think I may have ever felt. This picture just doesn't do her any justice. She'll only be with me until tomorrow though, then she'll go with Ellen or someone who has room to foster her. I fear my bigger dogs could injure her just due to their size. I have an 16lb chihuahua mix and Piper makes him look like a honking moose! The Senior Dog contract requires that any of our adopted dogs be returned to us should the owner decide he or she can't keep the dog anymore. Unfortunately for whatever reason, it doesn't always happen. Luckily the local Humane Society contacted us to let us know that this little gal was dropped there after the owner went into a nursing home and the family couldn't or wouldn't keep her.
I try not to be judgemental because I know that all folks go through things, but I just can't imagine not keeping the pet of someone close to me in this situation. It's hard enough for the person to leave his/her home, but do they wonder what's happened to their beloved pet? What does the family tell him/her? Does the family think about what's going on in the dog's head? Or how the person feels knowing that someone in the family couldn't keep the dog? Just a few questions that pop into my head when I hear about something like this which happens all too often.
Piper will find another home though, no matter how long it takes. In the meantime, she'll get all the love and care she needs, though it won't be nearly the same as being in her own home with her own people (or person.)

Sleepy Dog

One of Jester's favorite ways to pass the time is to take a nap. I don't think I've ever met any dog that could look so completely comfortable in any position that he happens to fall asleep. Did I mention that he snores sometimes?? HA!! There have been a few times that I'll be sitting in my living room reading and hear him sawing a log as he's right next to me. I am forever laughing at something this adorable little guy is doing. Whether it's his stubby little tail wagging or his snoring, he never fails to provide humor in my day.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Meet Mishka

Is this a gorgeous face or what?? This little gal is quite amazing. I first found out about her from my vet. The doc knew that I worked with senior dogs and was wondering if I could find a place for Mishka. When I asked what happened, I was saddened but not surprised to find out that Mishka's owner just didn't seem to be able to care for her anymore so she had decided to have Mishka put to sleep. Mishka is not ill, nor is she terribly old. She's just over 7 years old and is full of love and spunk. Of course the vet refused to put down a perfectly healthy dog without at least trying to find her a home.
As it turned out, that Friday was Mishka's lucky day. I wasn't sure what I could do to help as I had a full house already and another on the way. While I was talking to a friend she saw Mishka's face and immediately she and her husband decided to foster her for us (Thanks Betsy and Jim!) Mind you these guys live in an apartment so they weren't sure how Mishka would handle things. Things are working out just fine. Mishka gets her daily walks now and is pleased as punch to just hang around with the family. She loves to go for rides, is great on the leash and is crate trained. She's just an all around mellow gal looking for someone to give her that special forever home she deserves. She is also available through St. Louis Senior Dog Project.

Mishka and Jester will be at the Kirkwood Petco on Saturday from 11 AM until 2PM. If you are interested in meeting Mo, he will be at the Kirkwood Petco on Sunday from 11AM until about 12:30PM. Come on out and meet them and the many other loving dogs looking for that special someone to remind them that they are not alone.

Going for a walk

Tonight Mo took his first walk. He was not happy at first. I'm using a harness with him since he was on a chain for so long. The leash hooks to the harness on his back. He wasn't too sure what to think. I took my older gal Squirt with us because she LOVES to go for walks! In fact, I can't even spell the word around her because she's figured out what I'm doing and goes nuts:-)

Mo spent the first few minutes watching her and trying to stand as still as possible. Well, her enthusiasm got the better of him. Before long, he was sniffing and snoofing everywhere. Watching his tail was like watching a flag. First it hung down even when he was happy. Slowly but surely it started to rise. By the end of the walk it was standing straight up in the air and he was not nearly ready to go in. But I was and I still had two more to walk tonight so in we went. Good thing my dogs are such good leaders.:-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Funny, little Jester

This is Jester. He's a funny little dog, that I can't seem to figure out why he hasn't found a home yet! He is sweet and gentle. Completely house trained and LOVES to snuggle. He's one of the most comical little creatures I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. He's very low key- -just wants some love, food and a soft bed to snuggle on. Did I mention that he loves to take naps too?
Jester is about 8 years old and was dumped at the pound in the county because his folks thought he was too old. Heck, he's in the prime of his life!! He sure seems like the perfect dog to me, older or not. I love puppies, but give me a laid back, loving older dog any day.
These are the dogs that get forgotten because they are not tiny little creatures with that foul but lovely puppy breath any more. And to be perfectly honest, most folks are afraid to take them on because they have already lived some of the years of their lives. Well, they also don't pee in your house like a puppy and they are usually better behaved. Not always, but usually. Again, I do love the little youngsters, but would rather my pals in fostering take care of the little ones. I appreciate the wisdom and quirks of the older guys. Jester seems to understand that and does all that he can to make me smile, whether it's intentional, I'll never know.

All dogs need a home. . .

I am a foster "mom" with St. Louis Senior Dog Project. I decided to start this blog when another member of the group suggested that a few folks record the stories of 3 dogs that came to St. Louis after living a miserable life on the end of a chain in N. Carolina. All three dogs are 9 years old or older. Yet after all that they've been through, they are still amazingly loving, social and ready to find a home of their own. I plan to write about my "forever" animals as well

This is Mooter, now known as Mo. He was one of the 3 dogs to travel to St. Louis. To read how Mo came to be here check out Ellen's blog at http://www.stlseniordogproject.typepad.com/ . Look for the post from October 30th.
You might notice he's wearing a hat for this picture. Quite handsome fellow if you ask me:-) Very cooperative as well. He's still a bit fearful of new folks at first, but he does great at home with me and LOVES playing with the other dogs in the house. You could say I have a few:-) Mo's future home will have to have a family that is willing to spend a lot of time loving him and giving him the best life possible after being chained up for all those years. I'll never understand why anyone would even bother to have a dog if they are going to be chained up outside. Mo is no watchdog, so I can't fathom the reason. Why have a dog at all?