Sunday, January 30, 2011

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Recent news

Is not as easy to work as I thought it would be, but we're getting there. So blue-eyed boy Tucker got a new home! He is happily surrounded by 3 cats and two loving humans. This still leaves a house full of critters to practice on as well as anyone else within photographing distance. Won't be getting a new foster until around spring break. Lots of running and some catching up to do. In the meantime I'll be posting pictures as I get some good ones. Here's to hoping that I have some good luck! Here's a few. . .

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snowy Day Dogs

More snow! I can't believe how much snow we're getting this winter. It's been forever since this kind of weather has come around. With snow, comes snow days if you work in a school. Gives me cabin fever really, but it also gives me more time to spend with my little monsters:-) Course, they'd much rather I be at school, I must admit. Squirt in the picture with the blue blanket prefers to spend her days lounging under the covers. . .as many as she can squeeze under. Blue spent the part of the day today curled up with Cody's favorite toy, a honking goose, lol. Cody kept trying to grab it out of there and as soundly as Blue sleeps all she had to do was lift her head and look at him and he'd back off. He kept trying and finally did get it, but I thought it was cute that she squeezed herself in to this little bed but made sure not to push the goose out, lol.
Then there's the Snow Queen, Lexy. It has been challenging over the last two days to get her to come inside with all this snow. She LOVES snow and loves laying in it, being covered in it, rolling it it, you name it, more than any other dog I've seen. Problem is she gets little ice balls wadded in her fur after being out a certain amount of time. Then when she comes in, she "melts" all over the house. Not a big deal really, but oh what a mess!

Good news too, Tucker (aka: Eclipse) was adopted this week by a wonderful couple! He now has his own family, 3 cats and a huge yard to play in! Funny how things work out. If it weren't for M. J. the cat having to stay here over the holidays, I would have never known if he was good with cats. At first glance, I would not have pegged him to be a dog that would be gracious around them since he's so squirrel driven in the yard. Turns out he's a big old softie with them. And did he ever love to play with M. J. And you know what ? That goofy cat would go out of his way to get Tucker up and moving whenever I'd finally get him to settle down for the evening. Funny thing the way things like that work out. You just never know what good can happen from a situation.

In the meantime, there's supposed to be another storm heading our way. The Snow Queen will be happy, but the little dogs- - oh they so will not!
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Queen

Folks hear me talking about my dog Lexy all the time. She's my first baby, though not the last:-) A friend called her the Snow Queen many, many years ago because of her thick coat and her love of freaking freezing cold weather. Here's a few shots of her from the other night when it snowed. She was only out for a couple of hours (it would have been less, but I couldn't get her to come in at first!) When it snows, she just lays there and allows her coat to be covered. Her fur is so thick I don't think the snow ever actually touches any skin. I'm able to get the best pictures of her then. The white background of the snow, even at night, just makes the beauty of her coat stand out even more. It's all her fault that I started fostering dogs. Well, her and Squirt. If they weren't such wonderful companions I never would have considered it.

And for those of you out there who think you could, "never foster because it would be too hard", trust me, the first one is the hardest one to let go and there are others along the way that tug at your heart, but, when you think that you'll be helping a family to find their own "snow queen" or whateveryou might call your little yapper, you'd be amazed just how hard it's not:-)
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Saturday, January 8, 2011

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Ol' Blue

In conversation about my dogs with a friend the other day, I had mentioned Blue being a hospice foster. When he asked what that was I explained. Then later on thought perhaps there are others out there not familiar with this. A hospice foster (at least in our group) is a dog that is deemed unadoptable because of a health issue/shortened life expectancy.

Blue fits into that category. When she came in June, it was only for one week while Ellen was on vacation. I was even hesitant initially because I knew that Blue had been around for quite a while and had some heart issues. Of course, one week turned into longer because she was so easy to have around. Being that she was adorable and silly to boot didn't hurt. I took her to some adoption events where she promptly would fall asleep if crated for more than two minutes:-) She was happy to stay awake if she had a great treat to chew on. The only problem was she didn't want to come out if anyone wanted to meet her. She was pretty happy being out and about, but would get irritated with the younger dogs in her face so she would snarl or snap at them. Folks that have never worked with dogs before thought she was being aggressive. What it was, was a bossy old dog staking her space with a warning, nothing more. Didn't take long for her to learn that it's a wasted effort when she's here because my guys are so used to other dogs coming in that they just ignored her efforts. The only ones who continue to be afraid of her are the newbies that come through.

Anyway, back to the hospice thing. Blue has congestive heart failure, among other things. She's on several medications to help control her symptoms (the main one being a terrible cough). There's not too much to be done other than that. Blue has surprised us though. She goes through her lows and highs and it's amazing what a zest for life she has, even though sleeping is her favorite pasttime:-) That being said, I would hate for her to have to adjust to a new home with her symptoms being this advanced. She's pretty happy here and, dare I say, she even likes the other dogs around her. It would be a rare home, indeed, that I would make an exception for. She would probably adapt, but I hate to take the chance since she is happy and doing pretty well right now.

Even with Blue becoming a permanent resident with my guys, it still leaves me room for at least one other foster at a time. She's great about her medications (thank heavens for Pill Pockets! Don't know what I'd do without these! I have had some finicky pooches come through here, but none can resist these things!) and is pretty predictable about most things. She does have potty issues at times (she's not the first, that's why I ripped out my carpet and put in regular floors!) but that's mostly because of her meds and her condition. It is usually my fault for being gone too long though *sigh*.

So essentially, a hospice foster is a dog that becomes a permanent resident due to health issues, usually fatal. Our goal as fosters is to give them the best life possible and keep them as comfortable as we can until it's time to let go. They're able to live their lives out with dignity and love. And if the time comes when they are suffering and have to move on, they have someone there to love them and cry for them when they go. It sounds sad, but it really is a gift to be able to do something like this. Just reminds me to enjoy the moments as they come and worry about the future when it comes. Blue is not my first hospice foster and I'm sure she won't be my last. When you work in rescue long enough, it just goes with the territory.
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Aw, shucks.

Sometimes there's not much to say, but a picture is worth a thousand words. And yes, he IS smiling, no kidding. He only does this when I'm giving him my full attention. Lucky thing he's a good boy. He could get away with just about anything with that face:-)
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Savannah Smiles:-)

The lighter blonde of the two dogs (on the right) is Savannah. She was a foster of mine in 2008. She was adopted by a wonderful family who let me know that she now has recently acquired a little "brother" :-) The little girl in the picture is one of Savannah's humans. I've been working in rescue since 2004. Savannah came along in early 2008. She was a special situation because the family that originally had her are dear, dear friends of mine. To be perfectly honest, my first true love of dogs started because of my friendship with these folks. Her human has been a friend of mine since I was 16. I gotta tell ya, that was a long, um, long time ago:-)
The owner's love for the dog led her to find a new placement because of a rough situation that all dedicated animal lovers hope that they are never put into. It was heartwrenching and I'm glad I was able to help.

Savannah is a beautiful malinois/shepherd mix. She's smart, loving and fiercely loyal. That being said, you can imagine the pain of having to part with this dog. There are truly legitimate reasons that a loving owner may need to part with a family companion. This was one of them. I think of this everytime I hear some lame excuse for dumping a dog.

Anyway, tonight I got a wonderful note with this picture of Savannah and her new playmate, Clark. Cute, eh? I love getting good news about dogs that have been with us. Heck, I like good news of almost any knd, but this is definitely my favorite kind:-) It seems Savannah and Clark are doing a great job of wearing each other out when they're not playing with the kids. Congrats to Savannah and her new family and thanks to all of you who continue to adopt from rescues and shelters. We couldn't do it without you:-) Happy New Year!
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Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Hopes

Here we are, just entering 2011. I'm sure it'll be weeks before I get the year right. My students always love the beginning when they get to correct me constantly about the dates:-) Thankfully for me, I'm cool with that. I've always taught my students that no one is perfect and as long as you are kind when pointing out errors (as I try to be with them!) it's all good. (which is a good thing because I'm easily distracted and when one of the kids asks me something I don't know, perfect segway to get on the internet or look it up in a book and find the answer!) Love technology. Wish I was as savvy at it as my 4th graders!

Dates aside, I guess, like everyone, I find myself reflecting on the year and all that has happened-good and not so good. Overall, I'm pretty lucky. This year brought me new projects such as the school garden. I had many outgoing and lovable fosters who were fortunate enough to find great homes (Goldie Boy is still my pride though:-) Wasn't so sure about him at first. What a diamond in the rough he turned out to be. They were mostly younger than what I'm used to working with (which is a challenge in and of itself) but what a hoot they were. A far cry from the stoic beauties from last year that I had to say tearful farewells too (RIP: Trinity, Chester, Buddy and Jester). That's one of the sad things when working with older dogs who have come from scary situations. Just don't know what they've been through and how to fix the health issues that can come along. Course, every moment is worth it. I've had many, many more older bubs who have happily gone on to live with their families without the issues that plagued these guys. Sometimes it's just the luck of the draw for them. Though I love how our founder Ellen has explained it. At least these beautiful creatures know the happiness of love and comfort before they pass whether it was with me or their forever homes. I like thinking of it that way. Helps to be able to keep going for the next ones. Course this year has been a good one with the fosters. I've been fascinated with the adoptions I've had this year.

Of course, my bubs have all been well and then there was the addition of Ginger to our family:-) What a pistol that one is. She came in like a lamb and has turned into a real lion, lol. She acts completely demure and coy when she wants my attention, but when one of the other dogs comes up to steal her thunder, out pops that lion. It's not as bad as it sounds, but it's definitely funny. These guys always keep me in stitches with their antics. I get to come home to happy every day. I may have mentioned that before, but it's worth mentioning again.

Sadly, I did have to say goodbye to Leo and Butler, my sweet little ratboys. I sure do miss their little antics. With life constantly changing I had to make the decision to hold off on anymore rats for the time being. To much running around and not enough time. I always hated that they were stuck in their cages too much. They didn't seem to mind:-) but I always did. I've had rats since 1999. Heck, I had them before I even found Lexy and Squirt and that's saying something. Someday again. . .

Like everyone else I've had ups and downs with family, friends and the job, though that's life, eh? I am pretty happy about my new position working with all the grades. This break has reminded me that I need to put more fun back into learning. (this has probably been the best holiday break ever) It really is sad how mandates and districts can literally ruin the joy of learning for our bright young minds. However, there are ways around that:-) Hopefully there will be some big changes with my classes this next semester that will help to bring more kids that can't wait to come instead of "do I really have to?"

Oh, and my camera broke! So what a shame I have to get a new one *wink*. So hopefully better and more pics this year.

I have a lot of hopes for the new year. I hope to be more patient with humans, more outgoing with folks (believe it or not, I have done public speaking in front of large crowds, no problem, but can be stupidly shy in small groups when it's not work related) I want to get involved with more, get my graduate degree going full steam, get healthier and travel somewhere this year. These aren't necessarily resolutions. I suck at keeping those. I would like these to just be things to strive for. Oh and lastly, I'd love to be able to find the joy in life that my dogs do:-) Man, as humans we overthink waaaaay too much. Life can be GOOD even when it's bad. It can ALWAYS be worse. So hard to remember that sometimes. It's all a matter of perspective. As much as I hate to end this with cliche"ish" statements, I can't seem to help myself:
Life is too short to always worry about doing everything right and pleasing everyone around us. We do the best we can, strive for more for ourselves and those around us and pray that our higher power can overlook our flaws (even if we have a lot:-). Other than that, find happiness in the little things and remember to smile at people. You just never know what a difference it can make. Happy New Year out there! Give your critters(or your humans) a hug and hold on tight, 'cause here we go!