Buddy is a 3 year old Shih Tzu-Poodle mix that’s been with us a week. He bears an uncanny resemblance to my childhood dog, Ginger. So much so that I have actually been contemplating keeping him. However, Lollie our pitbull mix doesn’t like strange dogs. So far she’s been easy to manage but the reality is that we have to keep them separate. And anyone who has two dogs in their home who don’t get along understands when I say that it is really stressful making sure everyone is safe. I don’t like it. Maybe with work it would work out, but at this point, I don’t think I’m up for that challenge.
So, for now, we consider Buddy a visitor. He was an owner surrender, directly to H.E.L.P, His previous owners said he was just too much to deal with, given that there were children in the home. You look at his little face and think, “how can that be?” but don’t let his fluffy good looks fool you – inside that cute suit is a type-A, big dog. Knowing what I know now, after just one week, I can see how someone who doesn’t really know dogs, who didn’t really want a big dog, and who didn’t have the time to work with him would find him a nightmare. He literally needs HOURS of exercise each day just to be calm. But today I think we over did it…as I let him out tonight he struggled coming up the stairs. I guess we have found his limit – a three mile walk and 3 hours of fetch is it. That’s good at least.
So, other than his ball obsessiveness and his need for large amounts of exercise for a small dog, he is great!! Here is Buddy on PetFinder.com - where you can fill out an application to adopt him!
A few more pictures of Buddy: (more…)
We received a lovely note from Boomer’s (formerly Moonlight) family…
Boomer has been a delight since the first moment he ran into our home and ran straight to the “toy box”! He has never met a toy he does not like or want to play with!
He is now 11 months and if we had a nickel for every time someone asked us what kind he is we could retire and play with Boomer and Bella all day! Since he is 60 pounds we figure he has something else in his mix beyond German Shepherd and Black Lab. We affectionately call it his “secret sauce”. We think his secret sauce may be Basenji as he has this sweet wrinkle on his forehead, does not really bark, is black with white markings and looks a lot like the Basenji on the main page of one of those dog breed web sites. : )
We have enjoyed taking Boomer to “Dogs Best Friend” for training classes. He is in his fourth 6 week class series! He had two puppy classes, basic obedience and now we are in Advanced Obedience. I think we will take the “Off Leash” class in the spring, too. He is incredibly bright and has been the best or near the best behaved, trained and smartest of all the dogs in all of the classes we have taken. His latest accomplishment this week at class was “a flying lie down”! With him off leash and running away from me I can get him to lie down and stay as he is running away from me. My classmates and instructors consistently comment on what a great dog he is. : )
The small dogs in our classes also love Boomer because he adjusts his “game” to the size of his play partner! We find this charmer as do the instructors and the owners of the small dogs he plays with. The instructors have pulled us from the “big dog play group” a couple of times to have Boomer play with a small dog that was having trouble with some of the other small dogs. He is also wonderful with our rescue house bunny, Kooper!
Boomer has gone on many adventures with us including several boating adventures, a week “up north” at a cabin with Grandma and a trip to the Christmas tree farm to cut our Christmas tree – where he met and played with his first Mastiff! We are looking forward to taking him snow shoeing with us on our property now that we have so much snow! Boy, he can’t get enough of the snow and being outside! He just sits on “his” hill side and watches all of the wildlife off in the farmers field and runs in the deep snow.
We think the world of our Boomer Moonlight and can’t thank all of the people at H.E.L.P. enough – especially Kristin and family. I think what all of you do is absolutely amazing. You all gave Boomer a great start to life that is so evident in his demeanor and happy, laid back approach to everything and everyone. Bella, our Puggle and Boomer’s sister, was rescued from a shelter and has issues that we continue to work on. I wonder if she had been fostered like Boomer if she would be as balanced as Boomer.
Anyway, perhaps this was more information on your sweet Moonlight than you were seeking! :> We adore him and could go on and on ….
My response: Thank you for this wonderful email! Thanks also for the warm words for what our family does for our fosters. It means a lot to me. I am grateful that you’ve given him such a wonderful, full, and happy life. Have a great holiday season.
Greta looks like she is a 1.5 year old Dachshund/Basset Hound mix. Shes about 40 pounds with a honey brown, short haired coat, big floppy ears and a long tail that ends in a tip of white. She is an absolute sweetheart, house broken, quiet in the house, and walks nicely on a leash. She has such a happy disposition and puts her whole heart into what she is doing. She loves to play, loves children, and loves running around and just being outside. She also likes to cuddle up at night or chew a good bone. She is great with other dogs. She would love an active family with children who would love her and play with her. She came to us from Southern Illinois and has been taking care of her 5 puppies for two months. Now it is her turn to be taken care of. She is up to date on all her shots, microchipped, and on preventative heartworm and flea products.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN GRETA, please fill out the H.E.L.P. Adoption Application. This is the first step in meeting the dog. Our web site is updated regularly, so if you see a dog posted here, most likely, he/she is still available. Please fill out an application and submit it as indicated on the app. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN ADOPTING!!!
Link to Greta on Petfinder
I’ve been working with a very sad case of a puppy who bites when frustrated. Ordinarily, that isn’t that unusual as all puppies need to learn (and therefore be taught) to tolerate frustration. They need to learn patience and self control much like people need to learn those skills. They are the foundation of what we consider “manners.” When young puppies are very frustrated, it is normal for them to bite. However, all puppies who are healthy and have been raised with their mama and littermates have a natural respect for those in charge. And they all learn something called “bite inhibition.” They learn to hold back from biting full strength, and to use a bite only as a last resort. Their mama teaches them by her reactions when they do bite too hard or too quickly – she swiftly puts them in their place, usually by a nip of her own and a hard growl. And as puppies play together they learn that a hard bite stops play and that a soft bite lets it continue. Through these daily interactions all puppies raised well learn this important social skill.
Not this little puppy. At 2 months of age this puppy would bite hard enough to draw blood, whenever it was even a bit frustrated. By the time I saw him at 4 months of age, he was confident in his ability to boss people around and bit frequently and with very little provocation. He bit me three times before I even knew what had happened, and that isn’t a common occurrence for me! What is so sad is that this sort of behavior in a puppy so young is highly unusual – to the point of being considered abnormal. It suggests that something has gone very wrong in this puppy’s neurological development or upbringing. I suspect that a large piece of the puzzle is that this particular puppy, even though he is registered with the American Kennel Club, was purchased at a pet store. It is likely that he wasn’t a product of one of the notorious puppy mills, but he could have been. It is more likely that he was taken from his mama and littermates far too young – I’d guess at about 3 or 4 weeks. And his mama is likely mentally unstable herself. It is such a sad story. The family who owns him loves him dearly but the pup has bitten everyone, and there are young children who live in the home. It is my strong opinion that this dog should be rehomed, if there is a home who could work with him. But I strongly suspect that this pup will likely have to be euthanized.
So, please, I cannot stress this enough, please do not purchase puppies from pet stores. Adopt a homeless puppy from a shelter or a foster home (H.E.L.P. is a great resource!). If you must, use a reputable breeder. Make sure they insist on keeping their puppies until they are at least 8 weeks of age. Make sure they keep them in such a way so that they have frequent contact with their mama. And make sure that they are willing to (and interested in) making any problems like this one, right.
So, we’ve got three new puppies at our house. Here’s their story (as much as I know and I’ll ever know):
Their mama was a pregnant stray that was hanging around someone’s home. They let her live in their garage and there she had 7 puppies. Then, when they were 6 weeks old, she “ran away” and “got hit by a car” and died. So, no mama. H.E.L.P. split up the group and we got three of them. They are really small for 7 weeks so they look like they’ll be around 40 lbs. when full grown. They seem well socialized to people, not afraid and in fact very willing to follow and interact. So the original family did a lot right. Thank you to them, whoever they are.
But they all have a weird and very scabby thing going on with their skin. I gave them all baths and tried my best to scrape the scabs off with a flea comb but it was really difficult. It is really strange, I haven’t seen anything quite like it before. The vet said that it might be “ringworm” and that if it is I shouldn’t worry about trying not to get it because I likely already have it. Yikes. But then he said that he believed it was unlikely going to be ringworm. So I bathed them all and they all screamed bloody murder. Then I swaddled them in big towels and laid them in my son’s arms with a space heater on them all. They all promptly fell asleep – except Ryan. Then I cut all their toe nails and re-combed the one with the worse scabs and fed them. They are really quiet in their room now. Probably pee is everywhere.
They have little short ears and fluffy fur. The little black male has a blue spot on his tongue! Maybe some Chow in them? I’ll have to do some research to see what other breeds have blue spots on the tongue. There’s one yellow female and one really fluffy black female. They are so cute. It is nice to have puppies again and to have so few! What an easy time this well be – if they all turn out to be healthy…
Many of you may have noticed a distinct lack of content here on CanineFostering.com of late. Thank goodness for the updates that some of the foster families have sent in!! We are still open for another mama dog and Michelle from H.E.L.P. assures me that a dog will turn up. In the meantime, I’ve been busy launching another site. Some of the readers of Canine Fostering may know that Mike and I have been kicking around the idea of adoption for awhile now. Well, we’ve finally decided to start the process and we’re recording the “journey” on a blog. I’d love for you to visit http://buildingourfamily.com if you’re so inclined. I will be trying hard to post daily so it will be more fun to check in on than Canine Fostering has been. (It is difficult to find things to write about dogs when there aren’t any fosters around…).
We have been busy though, babysitting some of our puppies while their families are on vacations. We’re loving offering this service to our fosters and it does give us the fun of having a “new” dog in the house. I’ll be sure to let you all know when we get a new family lined up.
I got this from Michelle, our dog coordinator at H.E.L.P. It brought tears to my eyes. Yes, the music helps but the sentiment is right on. We only have to do one small thing. Just one and so much can be done. Thanks to everyone who has and will do their part.
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.