Just One Dog

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.

This wonderful video was posted by CampCocker.com, a rescue group in Los Angeles. See this video at blip.tv

Chloe returns unexpectedly

Chloe returns

Chloe returns

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, the whole gangevery 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.

Chloe and puppies playThe 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.

Chloe relaxingSo, 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.

Willow is ready for adoption

WillowWillow 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

July 25, 2009 • Tags: , , , , • Posted in: dog adoption, Willow • No Comments

New mama – and pups – arrive early

WEEELLLLLL, Things don’t always go as you plan do they? Sometimes you need to roll with things, have loose hips, let yourself be moved by the world rather than trying to control everything. We had a good plan – new mama, named Angel, comes North to Chicago (from Southern Illinois) on Saturday, spends the day with a temporary foster and arrives Sunday afternoon after Chloe and her final five pups have gone to their new homes. Sort of stressful but doable.


So, Michelle, our wonderful dog coordinator for Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets (H.E.L.P.) calls me on Saturday afternoon asking if we can take Angel early, on Saturday after I get off work. I think, ok, that’s doable.

New mama Angel and her 9 pups

New mama Angel and her 9 pups


So as she is describing Angel’s heavy panting, rejecting food, and restlessness I say, “Ah, I think you need to come over here as soon as possible” And sure enough she was starting to have her pups on the ride over. We got her into the house and settled into a temporary room, as Chloe and pups are of course still in the puppy room, and she gets down to business. It seems clear that this is her first litter as she seemed a bit clueless in the beginning. But with Michelle’s and my help she got the bulk of the group (8 so far) delivered by 11:00 pm. But I fear she isn’t done. I am, however, heading to bed after this post and one final check. It figures, another large litter. But when I saw her I guessed 8-10.

We did have one scary moment – pup number 5 came out and it was clear in an instant that something was terribly wrong. He was opening his mouth and struggling to breathe but nothing (more…)

June 14, 2009 • Tags: , , , • Posted in: fostering dogs • 1 Comment

Chloe’s puppies ready for their new homes

too cuteSo the end of Chloe‘s group is upon us…the puppies have all been spoken for and I am so thrilled by our group of adoptive families. They are a special group and I feel like I’ve made some good friends in the process – I’m that comfortable with them! One family even watched the pups for me while I walked the dogs! Everyone’s willingness to be supportive of me has meant a lot too. So, to all of you I say thank you and LOVE your puppies forever. That will make my work worth it.

Now, deep breath, on to more puppies!

puppies!This will be the first time we’ve done a group of pups back to back and I must say that I’m feeling a little hint of anxiety about it. Chloe’s group has been SO easy and has gone so fast yet the last two weeks of every litter, weeks 6-8, are always SO much work. I literally fill two large garbage bags full of wet and poopy newspapers each DAY now. Two bags a day – think about it! It is crazy. Our garbage man must think we are so odd. So anyway, the end of the process is always so much work that I usually relish the quiet house, the clean puppy room and the grass growing back in the puppy yard, not to mention all my free time! I was looking forward to it, I must admit. But these things have a life and a process of their own. I have said “no” to taking on a litter before and I will again but this time I just sort of knew that another one was coming. I wasn’t surprised to see Michelle from H.E.L.P.‘s email saying that there were not one but two pregnant dogs needing a foster home. We can’t take more than one…can one of you? Let us know.

The puppies are piled up by the door crying to be let in so I must answer their calls…

tired puppies

Chloe and pups preparing for adoption

As you probably know, we are a volunteer foster-dog family for an organization called H.E.L.P. (www.HelpingAnimals.org) in suburban Chicago. When dogs we foster are ready for adoption, they are listed individually on the leading pet adoption site, PetFinder.com, and on the H.E.L.P. site. In a few weeks, mama Chloe and her seven puppies will be ready for adoption to their forever families. Here are links to each of the dogs:
Chloe 5/23/2009

If you are interested in beginning the adoption application process, follow the links above for information.