Archive for July, 2009
Chloe is a sweet, gentle dog we had while she nursed her puppies. She is a small dog, about 45 pounds with a beautiful reddish coat. She looks like a Golden mix, maybe with some Sheltie or Border Collie..She was adopted out but her adoptive family did not meet her needs and she was very unhappy. Fortunately they released her to my house again and in just two days she is back to her sweet self.
Chloe is a dog who is very smart and she is used to getting what she wants. Therefore, an experienced dog owner would be best. She would really benefit from obedience training as a way for her to learn to use her smarts in productive ways. She has climbed my 5 foot chain link fence (once) and regularly jumps the 3 foot chicken wire fence we use to separate the yard. However, she usually just stays in the fenced yard with our other foster dog and her puppies. She is not difficult to handle and responds well to mild verbal corrections. She walks well on a leash and used to only need a buckle collar, now a prong is helpful in the beginning. She needs a daily walk of at least a half an hour, more would be best. She is fine with other dogs but sometimes shows some fear at first.
Chloe is not fond of her crate and will protest with barking and clawing at it. I have found that if I ignore this and use an electric no-bark collar she settles within five minutes of my crating her and is fine on my return. I have left her no more than 3 hours at a time during the day and crate her the entire night (8+ hours). She is crated in a room with another dog and that may help her. Her adoptive family claimed she had “severe separation anxiety” but I don’t see that. She spends most of the day with other dogs in my yard and very little one on one time with me. I do think she would like more people time but she isn’t the most cuddly dog. Likely she will be more cuddly when she trusts you. She has been through a lot.
She would do best in a home with another dog and a home where people are around most of the time. She would not do well with someone who works full or even part time regularly. A stay at home parent would be best. She loves my son (6 years old) and his friends but they tend to say hello and ignore her. When she was at my home previously I categorized her as the easiest and sweetest dog I have ever had. I felt then that she could go to any sort of home and she’d be fine. Now, however, she has some baggage so trust will have to be earned by her next owner. But do not get me wrong, this dog has a ton of potential and is very sweet.
If you are interested in giving Chole a forever home, apply through H.E.L.P.
Tuesday night, after Chloe returned I went into my room to put Frank Frank to bed and he was NO WHERE TO BE FOUND! I panicked and immediately jumped to the thought, “Bella (our dog who is a firmly dedicated critter hunter) ate him” We started looking everywhere, deciding he must have gotten out under the 1.25 inch space under the door. But so much didn’t make sense…HOW did he get under the door and if Bella ate him, why wasn’t there a “crime scene?”
We looked for an hour and then cried and cried. Ryan was distraught, he said, “I wish magic were real so we could wish Frank Frank back” So sweet and so sad. Finally, at 9:40 Ryan said, “will someone please put me to bed?” and we did. I finally got to bed at midnight and as I was trying to calm down I heard the unmistakable sound of wings fluttering!! I opened the closet door and FOUND him standing in my laundry basket! He must have climbed up my pant legs and was hanging out in my clothes the whole time! What is amazing is that we were all crying and calling out to him and all the lights were on and we were literally tearing the room apart! He never made a sound! That stinker…he seemed very happy for all the attention in the middle of the night…I of course woke everyone up and we all celebrated. Franklin was warm and happy and just sat there chirruping and preening. What a night! Here’s a link to another post of a similar thing – apparently Quakers do this sort of disappearing act regularly if they get the chance.
Our early summer foster Chloe (recently called Amber) is back…it didn’t work out with her adoptive family so she is back here with me. Sometimes this happens. Apparently she was acting very anxious when left alone and actually destroying parts of the house and her crates (yes crates). And I posted about her escape from the second story window, right? Anyway she wasn’t doing well and her adoptive family decided they could do no more for her. I have to respect that decision.
SO…things just got extra crazy over here. But the good news is that the dog I saw coming out of the car – ears flat against her head, teeth bared, growling and barking a warning not to get close, tail tucked hard under her, crouched down low – is not the dog lying here calmly as I write. She was VERY fearful in our first minutes together and didn’t stop barking. I just sat there and eventually she came up and sniffed me, backed away and then sniffed again and looked at me. I said, “yes, it’s me.” She then began sniffing the entire driveway, every inch of it. For once, I let her lead me and she sniffed her way to the puppy pen. Mike brought Willow out and we walked them together for a few minutes and everyone did fine. Then I put the two mamas into the pen with the pups and watched. Chloe’s tail, which was still tucked but less so by this time, sprang right up and began to wag happily…she remembered! You could see her sniffing the pups, remembering puppies but not these puppies…but it didn’t seem to matter to her after a bit. She licked them, sniffed them all over and lay down and rolled around as they crawled all over her – just like she used to with her group. It was wonderful to see. Meanwhile, Willow took advantage of my stationary position and the lack of puppy attention and jumped up on a chair next to me and let me pet and pet and pet her. Everyone was happy. I just sat there feeling happy for Chloe who has had a hell of a 6 weeks…she deserves this happiness.
The difficult thing for me was that I had second guessed my decision to let this family adopt her in the first place. It is hard not to think “what if I had honored my instincts and said “no” – then none of this would have happened.” I don’t think most people realize the position us “rescue folk” are in – we get these dogs in terrible shape…we clean them up, get them healthy, teach them how to live in a house and give them some manners and just when they are good members of our families we have to let them go…to perfect strangers. We try to screen, interview and I know for a fact that this process of trying to determine a good match really pisses some people off…believe me, I’ve been yelled at a lot more than I’d like to be lately. But we do this to try to prevent the heartbreak that happens when we are wrong…I know that Chloe’s adoptive family is feeling terrible right now. I don’t think there is any easy way to let a dog go, not one that you’ve spent time loving and getting to know. But I just wish there was a way to know for sure if they and the dog will be a good match. I do know that I learn more and more each time I place a dog. And I really do learn more from my failures than my successes…still, I hate to see the suffering.
So, if any of you have to deal with us rescue people, and our annoying applications and redundant questions, please have a bit of patience. We are just trying to do our job well. And if any of you want to give Chloe a second chance at happiness please let H.E.L.P. know…she’ll need a family with a lot of dog experience, one where the main “pack leader” is home full time, and preferably a home with another dog, a high fence, and lots of love.
The puppy appointments went well today! I really liked all the people I met (thank goodness!) and feel good about them. The puppies had a full day of outside time meeting everyone. I also introduced them to water (a small pool) and no one was very interested in it…except Ash. He sort of took to it. If someone out there is interested in a water loving dog, he’d be the best shot in this group…and what a sweetie. Anyone??
Here’s a question I got from one of my new families and my response:
1. I’m reading so many different things about what to feed puppies and I wanted to get your opinion. Soft, hard, mixed? what brand?
In terms of feeding – I like feeding dry (hard) food as it is the most cost effective and it helps clean the teeth better than wet food. I am also a big fan of brushing your dog’s teeth (with dog toothpaste only, but a human tooth brush is fine – get an “enzymatic” toothpaste either from a pet superstore or the vet.) Brands vary so educate yourself…stay away from “by products” or “animal fat”…if you don’t know what it is you shouldn’t be feeding it to your dog!
I feed my dogs Canidae and if I didn’t feed that I’d feed Natural Balance – both good foods. Nutro makes a good brand, but one of my dog’s has an allergic (skin) reaction to it. Stay away from “puppy chow”" or anything you can buy in the grocery store…unfortunately. You will pay more for the good stuff but you will feed smaller portions (compare feeding portions – they vary wildly…a poor quality food will require up to 7 cups to get the same nutritional value as 2 cups of a high quality food.) In addition, feeding smaller portions means a smaller stool size – something to really shoot for with the big dogs!
Here is a video of mama Willow and her eight pups playing in the yard on a beautiful July afternoon.
See this video and others on YouTube.
The adpotion applications for Willow‘s litter are starting to come in. This time is always stressful – the pups are older now and demanding more and more attention from me. They want ME too, not just my care, feeding and cleaning, they want to play with, explore, bite, lick and cuddle with me. And this is the exact time that I have to be on the computer reading applications, calling people and setting up appointments to have people visit. Sigh.
It is a bittersweet time too, because I am just starting to get attached to these little guys. I’ve seen them through their TWO illnesses and they are healthy, happy, playful puppies now. I am learning more about their personalities and already have my favorites…can you guess? And just as that is starting to happen I have to start talking to the people who will eventually take them away from me. It is just part of the process, I know. And once I’ve met the families who will adopt the pups I feel happy about their futures…I like the people I adopt my puppies to – I couldn’t let them go if I didn’t. So once they are real people to me, not just names on applications, I get really excited for them, and the puppies stop feeling like mine and start feeling like theirs – but until then, for this next week or so, they feel like mine and I know I’m going to lose them and that is a sad and difficult feeling.
Speaking of liking my families – I LOVE Chloe‘s group! I have, as I said, liked all my families but this group has really kept in contact with each other and have included me and I feel really honored to be let in on these puppies’ lives as they grow up. I have had a chance to see 6 of my 7 pups (and I totally understand Sweet William‘s family not wanting to make that 2 hour drive out my way again!) and you don’t know how good it feels to see them all thriving. Thank you all for including me!
Willow is a sweetheart! The vet has her age at 2 years but I strongly feel she is under 1 year of age. Either way she is full of playful puppy energy. She looks to be a golden/yellow lab mixed with some sort of setter or hound – she has a long nose and droopy ears that she has to get from one of these breeds. She walks beautifully on a leash with only a buckle collar, is house trained, and is one of the most patient dogs I have ever come across. She will wait for me to clean up the puppy room for nearly an hour just standing quietly, watching me. She loves everyone she meets, especially children. She would love a family who has time to spend with her as she really likes being with people. She would also like an active family but she deeply appreciates cuddle time as well. Willow has is up to date on all her shots and has been microchipped.
Willow is ready for adoption from H.E.L.P. via HelpingAnimals.org
We have an update from Sweet William of Chloe’s litter…
Here’s William! He’s 25 pounds now, and while the biting is still much more than we would like, the trainer gave us some great tips, and we have seen improvement since Tuesday. One persistent problem has been diarrhea. The vet suggests that he could have a grain allergy. So we’re trying grain-free food, and hoping for the best.