Monday, May 31, 2010
I once fostered two Black and Tan Coonhounds. They were really nothing but trumpets on four legs. Although hounds are wonderful dogs, I avoid fostering them because so many of them are so very vocal. We have too many dogs around to have them making that kind of noise. Some dogs, however, vocalize or sing only in reaction to certain stimuli.
Sirens always initiate a group howl at our place, led by Cabell. Most of the dogs join in, and those that are outside gather in a group to do it. It really does seem to be a social event for those involved and any dog stuck in the house when a group howl is happening usually wants to go outside to join in. We once had a foster rottie mix, Charlie (shown here), who would howl when the coffee maker started up in the morning. That was considerate of him perhaps, although we did have the coffee maker set to start before we really wanted to wake up. Our late rottie, Jack, would sing in response to any high-pitched, "tinny" sound like a harmonica.
Here is a link to a YouTube video that Ernie's adopters sent to me about a year ago, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zaBPLlje9o, with Ernie singing along as one of their children plays the violin.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I'm left with just Sparky, Teddy, and Trooper for foster dogs right now, but I'm going out of town next week for about 5 days, so this is a good time to be low on foster dogs. With just 5 dogs of our own now, we have only 8 dogs around here. I can't remember a time when there's been so few since we first started fostering. There are a few waiting in the wings, however, so it won't be this way for long.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I never did file for unemployment, so I was among the uncounted unemployed. I should have, I know, but [***************deleted thought**************].
Meanwhile, in dog news: I've picked out an adopter for Precious. He's coming Friday and I expect them to live happily ever after.
Trooper's prospect came to meet him Wednesday morning. It would be easier to convince people of how sweet he is if he didn't do that ferocious bark at strangers. But he also took treats from her, followed her around, sat on command, and let her pet him all over. She came back Thursday for another visit and spent some more time with him. Next will be a visit with her current dog. Taking it slow is probably a good approach. He really will be fine. The biggest hurdle will be her current dog. Starr is one of my former fosters; she's a nice girl but also a real bitch.
Bruno is ok in his new home, but he's living under the deck and still won't come to the new owners. He spent the first night in the bedroom and was fine. But he spooked at something the next day, got away from them, and has been hiding out under the deck ever since. He comes out for treats, will even come onto their screened in porch to eat, but hasn't made direct contact yet. He is sticking around, however, and seems to know where his home is. He just isn't quite ready to accept the new people. I have to hand it to this woman, though. She is taking it slow and easy, isn't giving up. I offered to drive over there this weekend to get him out from under the deck and onto a leash again, but she's working on a couple plans of her own to get him to come around.
Axel is a young male shepherd who may be coming my way soon, but if he's everything I've been told he is, I'll have a home for him right away. A female boxer will be coming along with him, no relation, just sharing the ride out of the same shelter and out of similar circumstances.
A young woman called me, trying to find a place for two labs, a 7 year old yellow female and a 9 year old black male. They lost their home to foreclosure due to unemployment, moved into a townhouse, had the dogs with a friend for a while, the yellow is now at a shelter. . . it goes on and on. It's possible the yellow will be adopted or get a ride on a rescue transport up north somewhere. I told her I'd take them when I return after June 7th. Given my own employment situation, I couldn't very well say no. (I'm thinking how lucky I am that in spite of the lack of a job, our home was never really in jeopardy. Many people were not so fortunate.) Besides, I might have a home for a sweet senior male dog and it sounds like the yellow female is still quite active and probably adoptable.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The best thing Rowdy has going for him, however, is his pack. Trooper and Precious are all over me when I go out there, clearly trying to get as much attention and contact with me as possible. Rowdy is noticing and he's beginning to come up for some of that on his own. Last night when I put them to bed, Rowdy got himself in a place where he felt safe and then let me approach him, touch him, and even pick him up. Today I've gone out to the dogyard a few times with a bag of treats and made myself very popular. Even Teddy comes up for treats, although he is still keeping a bit more distance and would prefer that I toss them to him. Rowdy, however, comes right up front with Trooper and Precious to get his fair share.
I expect Precious to get adopted next week and possibly, hopefully, Trooper as well. Until then, I'm going to use them as much as possible to help Rowdy overcome his fears and shyness. Since Teddy suffers from the same problem, he and Rowdy alone won't make a lot of progress.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
He doesn't have any fear or shyness with other dogs, however, and currently I've got him sharing the dogyard and shed (at night), with Trooper, Precious, and Teddy. He has also met our Molly and Zachary. He loves them all, but Teddy is one most likely to play with him. Trooper will sometimes, but when Trooper tires of puppy play, he retreats to the top of the 6' platform in the dogyard to get away from the relentless Rowdy.
This is a good (easy) group of fosters. They entertain each other, they eat together, they sleep together, and they seem to be teaching Rowdy some manners. Trooper and Precious come up to me for loving and that is having a salutary effect on Rowdy. He comes up to check it out and I'm hoping he will soon become interested in getting some of the same.
I have a good lead on a placement for Precious (the collie), that may happen next week. She got vetted yesterday and is good to go. I've contacted a former adopter who would be perfect for Trooper, IF her alpha female happens to agree. Starr had a male companion dog at one time, but I'm not sure she's interested in sharing, anything. Trooper is very sweet and submissive, however, so if it's going to work with any dog, I think he's a good candidate. They will meet next week as well.
Until then, Rowdy has 2 good role models and 1 good playmate.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
As I drive around Charlottesville, I pass streets and neighborhoods that I remember based on dogs that I've placed. If I'm not careful, I'll turn into one of those old men who give directions based on landmarks that mean nothing to anyone else.
Charlottesville is a pretty small town and the dog community is a subset of that, so it's not too surprising that my adopters occasionally encounter one another. Huck (formerly Nemo) is one of two shepherds saved from their owner by a former adopter who transferrred them to me. He lives north of Charlottesville with a couple who have become volunteers with VGSR. Huck has an older brother, Tucker, who is a tripod (three-legged) Golden Retriever.
Cooper (formerly Copper), is the American Bulldog brought to me by my SW Va doggie dealer. Cooper lives not far from me, east of Charlottesville in Fluvanna County.
Both dogs live in rural areas and there is no reason their paths should have crossed, but they both happen to be taking obedience lessons from the same trainer. They are both in private lessons, not a group, but their schedules are back to back so they met as one's class was ending and the other's was about to begin.
I heard about the meeting from both adopters. Huck's mom has been reading this blog for a while now and she said that she recognized Cooper right away. He does have a very distinctive, and striking, appearance. Cooper is doing great with the training, by the way. He's smart and most importantly, he's willing and even eager to do what is expected of him.
I'm sure it's helping Huck as well, but he's a young male shepherd, and it's just hard for them to learn much until they are a little older. They learn, but they are not always interested in giving the behavior we ask for. I expect they learn very quickly, but then their brain moves on to 10 or 20 different and unrelated things, probably wondering why we are still stuck so far back on something mundane like "sit."
Monday, May 17, 2010
Ever try to get 3 dogs to look at a camera at the same time? Virtually impossible!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
I met my doggie dealer again today down at Natural Bridge. Linda brings me such nice dogs that I rarely, if ever, turn her down. This one is a collie, which I have never had, and it's every bit as nice as she said.
"Precious" is her rather unfortunate name. I'd change it, but I don't think I'll have her for very long. She was given up by a woman who fell on bad times and had to move in with a relative where her dog was not welcome.
She's small for a collie perhaps, but definitely bigger than a sheltie. She's very pretty, even without having had any grooming, and seems very sweet. I moved her right in with Teddy and Trooper.
I've never had a foster collie and we don't see that breed very much. I suspect she will go quickly, but you never know. I have one or two people I'm going to contact who might be interested in her. Linda has another dog lined for me too, a female boxer.
I am an animal rescuer.
I will never bring about world peace.
I will not save the rain forest.
I'm not a brain surgeon and I'll never transplant an organ to save a life.
I don't have the ear of a powerful politician or world power.
I can't end world hunger.
I'm not a celebrity, and God knows I'm not glamorous!
I'm not looked up to by millions around the world. Very few people even recognize my name.
There are a lot of things that I'll never do or become, but today I placed a dog! It was a small, scared, bundle of flesh and bones that was dropped off in a shelter by unfeeling people that didn't care what happened to it, but yet who were responsible for it even having existence in the first place. I found it a home. It now has contentment and an abundance of love. A warm place to sleep and plenty to eat. A child has a warm fuzzy new friend who will give them unquestioning devotion and teach them about responsibility and love. A wife and mother has a new spirit to nurture and care for. A husband and a father has a companion to sit at his feet at the end of a hard day of work and help him relax and enjoy life.
I am an animal rescuer. I have bought dog food with my last dime. I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand. I have hugged someone vicious and afraid. I have fallen in love a thousand times and I have cried into the fur of a lifeless body.
I am an Animal Rescuer. My work is never done. My home is never quiet. My wallet is always empty, but my heart is always full.
[For those playing along at home, the pictures from the top down are: Teddy and Brady; the new rottie mix pup, named Rowdy by my mother; and Emmylou and Rocky sharing the bed.]
Friday, May 14, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
This little guy is a rottie mix pup. He is very scared and has had a rough start in life. He was found with a litter of pups, none of whom look at all like him. I suspect that his early memories, if he has any, would be the stuff of puppy nightmares. Although they say that dogs live in the moment, they do often carry baggage from their past. In the case of puppies, it is often less about the bad stuff that happened to them and more about missed development opportunities. This little guy missed out on bonding with humans.
In the beginning he would run, hide, squeal, and then urinate when I'd pick him up. He has mostly stopped the urination and most of the squealing, and there is generally less effort put into running and avoiding me now, but he still has a way to go.
Once I pick him up, he's relatively calm and lets me cradle him on his back even. Well socialized rotties really crave contact. This little guy just doesn't know what he's missing. He's going to become my constant companion this next week until he learns to love me.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
It doesn't usually happen that fast. But, she came with an excellent recommendation from someone I trust; they are big dog people (there is a Newfoundland in the home already); and I liked the woman (she had the right bumperstickers on a very dog-friendly SUV).
She was prepared to take on the task of dealing with his ear infection and his matted coat, so she was realistic enough to realize that rescue dogs are not always perfect straight off the shelf. They have a large fenced yard and the kitchen is gated off to be one big dog kennel.
All the signals were good. I haven't heard from them yet, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the Newfi liked Bolt and that Bolt will show at least some house manners.