Boarding the dogs I once fostered is an interesting thing to do. I get to see what fine specimens my little babies have grown into and I get to see what characteristics from puppyhood are still with them.
Today we are boarding Otis, formerly Willow‘s puppy, Ash.
(Click on the smaller photos to see larger ones…)
A dog as young as Otis young who is that big had better have good manners…and, well, let’s say he is still working on it.
Hermes and Bella, my working dogs who go with me everywhere I can take them are helping me. Notice how Hermes is telling Otis, with his body who is in charge. And Bella, is telling the world (with her barking) what is happening.
After romping in the yard and getting to know one another we took a pack walk. Otis did well and it is clear that his owners are doing a lot of things right. He walks nicely and seems to know his place relative to the walker.
Those who know me often hear me talk about how to walk a dog correctly. I call it a “controlled walk” and here is a great photo illustrating one of my main points…I say, “pretend there is an invisible line coming out of each hip and no dog can cross in front of it.”
Tomorrow Otis leaves but not before another one of his pack mates arrives for her stay at our “doggie boot camp” – Abby, formerly Ginko will join in on the fun tomorrow morning.
Today is the big day for Willow‘s puppies. Most of the remaining pups are going home with their forever families today. Ash was the first to go yesterday. Will post more about this event in the next day or two. For now, here are a few more photos from this week…
Well, we just said goodbye to our first puppy…Ash is driving home as I write this. I decided to let them take him early (sorry to all you other puppy families – it was an impulse decision on my part and does NOT mean anything personal!!) Anyway, he was sweetly wagging his tail as I saw the door shut, surrounded by three of his four soon to be life long playmates. It made me so happy to see, and I think I even saw his new mama tear up a bit.
I just love how grateful my adoptive families are…it really means the world to me. It makes up for all the poopy puppy papers and hours of bleaching floors and cleaning out water bottles, and food bowls, and toys, and laundering bedding…sigh.
It is so strange – it is the hardest right now, the pups are HUGE (this group especially – they’ve got to be close to 20 pounds!) and take a lot of time and make a lot of mess. But then, in one four hour period they are all gone. Forever, I hope. Strange to be SO SUPER busy and then boom – nothing. I usually wander around aimlessly for a few days, unable to bear going into the puppy room to clean it but unsure what else to do with myself. It takes so much of me to do this work that I forget what I did before the puppies came. Especially this summer when we’ve had back to back litters (something I do NOT recommend to anyone!) I’ve been fostering puppies for three solid months. What DID I do before??
Ash is a sweet, mellow guy, born to a mama who looks to be part Golden Retriever/Labrador mixed with a setter or hound. His mama, Willow is also up for adoption, and is a mellow, playful, cuddly and patient dog. Her pups really take after her. Ash has a longer, cream colored coat and light eyes. He has a slightly lower energy level than some of his sisters. Ash is nearly house trained, having had the luxury of spending lots of time outside. He has had his first set of puppy shots, has been microchipped, and is on flea and heartworm preventative.
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!
The puppies are HUGE. Really, I can’t remember a group being so heavy and big at such a young age. They aren’t yet 5 weeks old and already they are topping 6 pounds. I tried to weigh them on the little food scale I have and failed – they kept error-ing it out because they were too heavy. So, I stood on my scale and then stood on it while holding them and subtracted my weight and basically ended up with just a general weight for all of them of about 6 pounds. It was stressful for someone like me who likes precision, especially when it comes to measurement and administering of medication (I had to weigh them in order to dose them correctly with their roundworm medication). Add to that the fact that the majority of them look so similar I can’t tell them apart!! I wasn’t exactly sure if I gave everyone the medication…did someone get two doses? Yikes. It was a stressful event.
I think I have 4 of them identified as individuals…there’s a red one with a red nose (got pics of her under the chair, a series of them) who I LOVE and I’m calling her Red Bud. There’s a male who is white with BLUE beautiful eyes, what a pretty boy he is! I’m calling him Oak. The only other male is also white but smaller and I’m calling him Ash. Then there is a small, white, (whiney) female with a red nose I’m calling Birch (notice the name theme?). The remainder are all female, all roughly a whitish/reddish color and all with a black nose…I think. It is so confusing! I am going to have to get a hold of some fingernail polish and paint their toe nails so I can tell them apart! Crazy.
Does anyone have any fingernail polish I can borrow?? Sadly I am not a girly girl.
The pups are eating about 3 times a day – moistened food with formula, and free eating dry food all day/night. Willow, the mama is learning how to jump up onto the platform to get outside and how to jump back in. That’s a relief. And she is finally got a cleanish bill of health…has roundworms (yuck) but that’s it. So, she can finally spend time outside with the pups in the play area. Life is getting a little easier…a calm before the storm of puppy applications/interviews. I have to get these girls and boys posted on Petfinder!