Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sleepless in St. Louis:-)

It's after midnight and I just can't seem to sleep.  No particular reason, just not ready for bed yet I guess.  All is quiet though.  I guess this is what parents talk about when they talk about the "me" time that comes in the wee hours of the morning after (or before) the kids wake up and commence to running around and hollering:-)  Well, almost all is quiet.  I can hear Blue sawing a log as she sleeps with her head hanging off the dog bed.  My two smallest dogs could be carbon copies of each other.  Sleeping side by side, in nearly the same position even next to me.  Lanky Max is rolled into a teensy ball in his crate (how DO they do that??) Lexy sleeping on the cool tiles in the bathroom and Squirt snoozing on the carpet in front of me.

Butler my little rattie boy was out earlier, but even he is quiet tonight.  He's sure getting up there in age. Used to be I could hear him and his brothers scurrying around wrestling, eating and creating havoc in their big ol' cage.  To be honest, it actually lulled me to sleep at night.  Yeah, I know crazy, but that's the way it is.   He's closer to 3 now than he is to 2 and his back legs are starting to go out.  Such is the plight of the pet rat who lives to a ripe old age all too often.  One advantage though, he likes it more now when I get him out.  He's such an independent little booger that for a while, once he had the cage to himself, he liked to play until I wanted to get him out to snuggle (typical man, lol!)  Now he seems to again enjoy the time that he has out with me.  Compulsive groomers, it is very frustrating for a rat who can no longer flex his body the way he used to.  He's content to allow me to brush his thinning coat, feed him baby food so that he can keep his weight up and he's now happy to just snuggle on my lap and enjoy some company. 

Sweet little things, rats are.  Severely misunderstood.  *sigh*  I think I've said this before, but I really used to worry when my rats would get old and worry about when my dogs will get old.  Since being a foster for St. Louis Senior Dog Project, I've learned not to worry about that stuff anymore.  Life is short enough without worrying when the "time" will come.  It will come when it's darned good and ready and no amount of worrying will make it any less easy.  But it is happier for all involved to live every moment so that you have no regrets when your friend is gone (didn't spend enough time, didn't pay enough attention, etc.)  Enjoy each day as it comes for all it's small miracles.  I think it's easier for our pets as well.  They are so keenly aware of emotions.  They know when you're worried, just not why necessarily.  Adds stress to them as well.  The calmer and happier you are, same often goes for them. 

Oh, don't get me wrong, I'll still shed a tear for what's to come now and then.  But not because I fear it anymore like I once did.  The tears I shed now are tears of pride and joy.  How lucky am I that I get to experience the beauty of these creatures even though it's only for a short time?  What an amazing effect it has had on my life to be a witness and a part of such joyful spirits?  Who knows?  But no tears tonight:-)  Only the sound of the crickets, the occasional cicada. . .oh yeah, and the sound of Blue snoring aloud while I'll bet she's dreaming of dog treats and ruling the house:-)

Saturday, July 24, 2010


His first adoption day wore him out!
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Here's Johnny! Good Grief!

So mornings aren't my best time of day. I clearly do not wake up until after 10, but when you have dogs (or kids I'm guessing:-) the schedule is not always your choice! This morning started off pretty much the same as any other. Drug myself out of bed because the pack is barking to go potty and have breakfast. I've done this so many times I could do it with my eyes closed. Once they are out time to feed Butler, my little rat who stands with his whole body pressed against the cage bars holding on for dear life with his little front paws. There was once a time he could stand like that without holding on. Now that his back legs aren't quite what they used to be, he's literally holding on so he doesn't fall over! So I get him his breakfast (usually some kind of baby food to keep his weight on in his old age. Don't worry he always has a dry food he can snack on anytime) and go about the business of getting breakfast ready for all the other pooches in the house. Blue gets green beans (trying to lose weight) with her food mix, a few others get a senior blend, yet a few others get purina one for breakfast.

At this point, I let everyone back in (that was a mistake!) and Blue starts her crazy dancing for food! You'll note the picture above. This is Blue's typical day. . er. . all day, except when there is food involved. I wake up a little more since I have to pay attention to who is trying to grab what food. Since Lexy is not very friendly with fosters about food I have to keep everyone separated (yeah, that's easy??) First Pollock, crate up boy, he hops right in gets his food while I'm shooing Blue out of the way. Head to the back room to feed Max. Okay Max, into the room. Max hops in then. . .what the????? I'm trying to close the bedroom door to put down Max's food and here's Blue huffin and puffin blockin my way with her head in the doorway giving me her best "Heeerrrreee'ss Johnny!" Crap, now I can't remember the movie, but it had Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall and he ... wait I got it , The Shining! That was it. So Blue is giving me her best maniacal look trying to bust through the door and get to the bowl of food (um, which I haven't even set down yet). It suddenly hits me that this is terribly funny and I haven't even had a chance to go potty myself. So here I am laughing, trying to get Blue out of the doorway, get Max to eat and not wet myself all at the same time. Sheesh!! Needless to say, everyone got fed, Jack, I mean Blue managed to get her breakfast and I made it through the incident without having to change clothes.

Anyone who thinks having a senior dog in the house is boring, has CLEARLY never had one. Love ya Blue. . .(you big nut)!
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Lexy Has a Crush!

Meet Max, the newest addition to our foster pack! He's a boxer mix who definitely has a boxer personality! If you know anything about boxers you know that means he is a big GOOFBALL! Sweet as the day is long, he's way more gentle than I would have imagined. He came running at me full tilt and as I got ready for the impact suddenly he gently jumps up and gave me a sweet hug! Literally he stood up and wrapped his front legs around me and laid his head down on my chest. Holy mackeral!!! How'd he do that???? Seriously, normally when I get a hug from a dog it leaves bruises, lol. Not with this guy. He was as gentle as can be. He's since given me several hugs and each time, he just stands up on those back legs and wraps me up in those front legs and leans. Don't know where he gets his good sense of balance, but he's good!

Lexy, my old booger, has a crush on him! She normally tries to boss the others around when they come in, but not Max. She's actually been trying to play with him. It's the funniest thing! She'll paw at him, trying to get his attention and he turns around and gives her a kiss then runs off with Pollock. She's smitten for sure:-) I guess it's true what they say, you're never too old to fall in love!

Now let's get to the tail. This dog has a tail that rarely stops wagging! Granted, he's only been here a couple of days, but he just wags, and wags and wags! I told Ellen he reminds me of a dog with no tail. You know, the one's whose butts wiggle nonstop in place of a full tail. Well he wags his butt AND his tail, lol. He's so cute!! I will say it's very hard for me to get a really good shot straight on. He has big brown eyes and the eyeshine from the camera makes it look like he has big green orbs where his eyes should be, lol. He is definitely a handsome boy though. And so fun to boot. It cracks me up that he can be playing hard and wrestling with Pollock one minute, then they are both crashed on the floor the next.
Even as good as he's been, Blue still wants no part of either Max or Pollock. And what's more, I can't help but laugh at their interactions. Blue is the sweet old beagle that I have staying here (looking for a home too!) and she's as easy going as can be until one of the dogs gets in her face. She had both Max and Pollock sitting on their butts looking at her with fear in their eyes as she barked at them for bumping her! LOL, no way can you imagine it as funny as it was to be here seeing these two big lugs sitting and looking to me for help as Blue gave them both a good what for!! Looks like Pollock may be finding his home this weekend so that will leave Max and Blue searching for their forever home. Remember, Blue is a member of the Seniors for Seniors program that we have through Stray Rescue. If a senior person adopts Blue, her vet care is covered for free at selected vets! She's a real sweetie (when she's not bossing around the young whippersnappers that is.) Come visit us Saturday at the Petco in Kirkwood!
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bossy dogs. . .

So I posted these in my facebook album, but I HAD to put them here as well. I don't think I've ever caught two yawns in one day. And never one for Cody (I don't remember if I did anyway:-) These pictures made me laugh so hard! All I could imagine when I looked at them was them yelling at me one moment, then looking innocently the next. These dogs just kill me sometimes!!
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When One Door Opens, Another Door Opens?

Our boy Goldie got adopted this weekend, YAY! He went home with a family who came to visit him the previous weekend and came back this week with their dog, Trigger. Goldie had already demonstrated a liking for the family, especially the teenaged son. Now he was meeting the family dog and boy, oh boy, did they hit it off right from the start! After visiting outside they came in and still wanted to play. Seems Goldie finally found that perfect home we'd been waiting for. It seems like just yesterday he came in afraid of anything and everything. It didn't take him long to figure things out. He loved my little guys, but his true happiness showed a few weeks ago when Pollock came to stay with us. With them matched in size and temperment, they became fast friends. That's when I knew he would need a dog buddy in his life. Goldie became even more confident and even started to like the leash (as long as Pollock was with him.) So, Sunday Goldie went home to his new forever family to be a dog that's loved and cherished the way he should be. Heck, he didn't even glance back when he left. He knew he was going home.

Pollock, on the other hand, was relatively distraught when I came home without Goldie that day. He searched the house for him for a couple of hours after I came home. It really surprised me, but he and Goldie did play a lot. Course, a little extra love and attention fixed him right up. He does love to play though and so I thought perhaps I should see if there is another male in the group that would fit with him temporarily. There wasn't one big enough, mellow enough, and playful enough to fit in here with the pack I already have. Hence the door opening for another dog, Max, who is coming to me from JCAC later today or tomorrow. When the folks sent a picture I asked more about him. The lady referred to Max as being similar to Pollock. Okay, Ellen, let's do it. So Max will be meeting my pack sometime in the next couple of days. Hopefully he will fit in as easily as Pollock. I'm lucky that in the summer, the month of July, I usually have time off so I can do this. When these three (Blue is still here as well) get adopted, or at least 2 of them, I'll be back to one dog at a time during the school year.

It's so tempting to take as many as I can squeeze in, but as the group was talking about just a few weeks ago, we all want to make sure that we are giving our fosters the best possible situations while they are waiting for their forever homes. Being that we are only humans who have jobs and other things like everyone else, we can only do so much. It can be so frustrating to try to figure out how to convince folks to spay and neuter or stop just dumping their dogs on the streets or somewhere else assuming that they will get a home no matter what. The truth is, they don't. The few that we are able to help are the minority, even with all of the rescue groups out there. Until the general population realizes that pet overpopulation is a problem that affects everyone, we continue to try to educate folks and love and care for as many as we can and hope that things will get better. In the meantime, when a new family opens it's home to a rescue dog, it means we can open ours to another that needs it.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hot Spot Relief

So who knew there was such a thing as a product called, "Anti Monkey Butt". I mean REALLY, they couldn't think of a better name for their product? Then I thought about it and really, it's perfect. I doubt anyone will ever forget the name of this stuff. Even when I called the hardware store where I found it the gentleman I spoke to knew EXACTLY what I was talking about?

Anyway, to the point, this stuff is supposed to work wonders for hotspots on dogs. A lady I met at an adoption event who has also been in rescue recommended that I try this for a hotspot Pollock has on his cheeck and neck. The skin looks great, but it starts itching and he tears it when he scratches. So I thought I'd give this stuff a go before making him suffer to wear an e-collar to try to help it heal. Well, today I've used it twice and so far, he hasn't scratched the skin again. And it smells good to boot:-) Pollock is such a champ about me putting it on him too. How many dogs will sit still and just look at you out of the corner of his eyes while he waits patiently for you to powder up his cheek and neck? I have to say, I never thought something called Anti Monkey Butt would be something that you could ever use on a face, but what the heck? If it works, it works right? I'll let you know if it actually helps to heal the hotspot. He's had it for at least a week now. Hopefully this will be the last he has to deal with it!
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sad Day

The looks on their faces describe how I feel right now. One of our volunteers passed away in a car accident on her way home from an adoption event today. She and her twin sister both have been volunteers with the group for a long time, maybe even from the beginning when the group started. She was such a lovely woman. A retired classroom teacher, she was always smiling, welcoming and friendly. I don't know all of the details, all I do know is that the world has lost one of it's angels here on earth. My heart goes out to her sister and the family. This is such a shocking, tragic loss. It's truly a sad, sad day:-(
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Crate phobics

This picture is for all those folks out there who think it's mean to crate your dog. Goldie was a very frightened pup when he came to me. The only place he seemed to feel secure was his crate. Dogs are den animals and need that space of their own. Of course he might not want to sleep in there the first night or so. Not any more than some toddlers want to sleep in their own beds at first. But it's necessary for routines and for the happiness of the dog when he's new to your home. Seriously. You wouldn't feed your child only candy just because he cries for it all the time, would you?

This is a pic of Goldie I took just a little while ago. That crate door is always open unless I'm gone or sleeping (don't want him to get my little rattie when I'm not looking!) If he's not playing, his favorite place to take a nap is in the crate. What's nuttier, I've tried to put big ol' soft blankies in there, but he pulls them out. I don't know if they are too hot or he just doesn't like them taking up space (more room for toys I guess.) The only thing he'll leave in the crate are his toys (a must!) and a sheet. Half the time he pulls that out. So the point to all this is when you get a dog, get him a crate when he's new to your home! Both you and he will be much happier in the end! You just may find, when you can't find your dog, he's in his crate taking a nap. (remember, the one you didn't want to use because it seems so mean:-) Pass this along to any other crate phobics that you know of. It might just help:-)
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Monday, July 5, 2010

Pup is now Pollock

I just couldn't leave this dog with the name Pup. Just doesn't fit him. So I've been trying out names and the one he seems to like most is Pollock. Meaning, he comes to that about as well as to Pup which is pretty well. I wouldn't normally try to change a dog's name when he comes to me, but this sweet guy is not a Pup. He's more dignified than that, honestly. You'd have to meet him to know what I mean I guess. (Of course, you CAN meet him this weekend at the Petsmart in Bridgeton on Saturday or the Petco in Kirkwood on Sunday!:-) He's been here since Friday and I still can't figure out how this dog ended up in a shelter. Calm, friendly, loving, he's another one of those pretty much perfect dogs that got the shaft again:-(
Boy, does he take good pictures or what??? His sad eyes don't seem quite as sad as they did the first night, but they still have that "sad factor". He's very playful with Goldy, but seems to be almost too gentle for the little guys (read that, they try to play with him but he won't knock 'em around like they do each other. He kind of stands there nosing them and touching them with his paw. They get bored pretty quickly with that since they are quite the rough and tumble pair when they're playing.) Since he's still got his stitches from being neutered, I won't really let him get going too hard with Goldy either, but he will try with him. The two of them are like old chums. I don't imagine he'll be around too long. He's going to be an easy boy for a family to have around. Goldy will be as well, but folks are just put off by his shy nature when he's away from the home, I've found. He has such an outgoing personality and is a big goofball, but is so sedate and nervous at the events. Perhaps having Pollock there this weekend to keep him company will help him to build that confidence that he needs in order to find that perfect home. We can hope anyway!
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What a ham!

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Meet Pup

I know, not the best name for a big 'ol dog, but I just got him last night, so he hasn't given me his new name yet:-)
Already he has shown that he loves other dogs, of all sizes. Is apparently respectful of his elders, lol. Blue gave him a good old what for when he tried to "meet" her the way dogs do. I thought she would tear his head off, bwahaha. Even better, I thought he might cry, lol! He sat back on his haunches and just watched her wondering what the heck was going on.
At first I thought he was shepherd/dane mix, but after checking it out online, I believe now that he's an anatolian shepherd mix, no dane. And those sad eyes of his? Even when he's wiggling around wagging his tail, he still has those eyes. Oh my, when I heard him whimpering in the crate this morning to go potty, I walked in and you could have hit me in the stomach and it wouldn't have affected me more than looking at that face staring out of the crate. I don't even think he knows he has the "heartbreak factor" of those sad eyes. I realize that given a little time, I will get used to them and not have the urge to squeeze him every time he looks at me. For now he is quite happy to have me give him a big hug and scratch his back.

He's still not too sure what's going on, but I think he will be content soon enough. He and Goldie are very nearly the same size. Almost the same color too, lol. Goldie was jealous at first, but now he's figuring out he's got a new friend that he stands eye to eye with instead of always having to reach down to the little dogs:-)

Pup seems to be quite gentle. He took treats very gently and looked at my rat with great interest but not with that crazy prey drive that I see so often in Squirt and Ginger's eyes. He seems to already know sit and lay down. He pulls on the leash, but doesn't mind it and very much likes to go outside to explore the yard. He's just as happy to come in adn sit on the carpet. It's only the first day, but I think I'm going to like having this little guy around.

Speaking of leashes, Goldy FINALLY got to go on a real walk in the park today with my two little dogs. Scared to death at first, but by the end of the walk, his tail was curled up high and he was prancing with joy. A few more days of this and hopefully he won't be afraid to have the leash on him any more!!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Ramblings of Fate

You know, it’s funny how things work out in a way you never dreamed.  I was just planning to pick up some of the donated food that our group received for the foster dogs.  I think maybe someone was going to bring it here, but it was an easy day and I called Gerry and arranged to meet her where she was meeting a few others for pick up.  While we were there, a little Italian Greyhound came speeding out of the store and into the parking lot.  Long story short, after many people went after the dog as he was crossing MAJOR intersections with a ton of traffic I was able to coax him into my car as he tried to run by and he hopped right in.  Needless to say, his owners were overjoyed to get him back in one piece. 

Strangely, as happy as everything turned out, I cried all the way home.  Maybe it was adrenaline, maybe it was watching in terror as this 15 lb dog (if that) is bolting into traffic.   I couldn’t get over my frustration at being stuck at an intersection on the way to try to help this dog, only to have the dog come running up a major street and literally right to my car.  An open door and a “Come here baby!!!!!”  was all it took to get him to hop in.  Mind you I was doing my best not to shriek as I was a bit panicked that he’d used up all of his chances as he was bolting across these busy roads.   I didn’t know this dog.  All he knew is he was being chased. 

All the way home I kept thinking, what if I hadn’t been right there?  What if they had stopped chasing him so he wouldn’t be so afraid? would he have come back if he didn’t think someone was after him?  What if I hadn’t thought to open my car door?  What if I hadn’t come to pick up the food today and just stayed with my original plan?  Then it hit me, what does it really matter the what ifs, the whys, the would ofs?  Bottom line, strangers worked together today for a common good.  There’s a happy, albeit extremely tired, dog back with his people.  The questions just really aren’t important. Sometimes you just have to have faith, whether in yourself, in a higher power, or whatever.  There are some moments where I think you are exactly where you are meant to be.  Go hug your critters and be thankful for the good that comes your way.  It may not always seem like it, but there’s always plenty to be grateful for:-)