Saturday, July 31, 2010

Samson's little brother

This picture was sent by Samson's adopter in Richmond.  She had a baby boy named Thomas back in early June.  Planning for having a baby and a dog involved installing a 6' fence in the backyard and I'm sure it has helped. Samson is getting two adventure hikes each week now and some one-on-one time each day as well.  They have passed the one month mark with the baby and seem to have a routine worked out for baby and dog that is working well for everyone.

Samson loves to lick and kiss the baby and the baby is beginning to smile when it happens.  He will grow up with German Shepherd hair ever present in his life, as it should be.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Out of town

Apparently I should leave town more often.  I moved out 4 dogs in the week before leaving and everything I've heard so far has been good. 

Colby is doing well in her new foster home and has a few potential adopters.  Ana is settling into her new home and they are planning to enroll with her in an obedience course.  I think that is a great idea even for a dog that doesn't really need it.  It's a great way to bond with the dog and to establish the sort of relationship that we want, with the person as the leader. 

The best news since I left is the news that Libby is doing well in her new home.  Apparently she's a different dog than she was at my house, or at least the living situation at my house didn't give her the chance to show what she can do.  With me, she seemed rather wild and unruly.  A nice dog, but not exactly well trained. Apparently that was her outdoor, summer camp personna.  She now lives in a beautiful home in Charlottesville, behaves herself indoors and out, walks nicely, and knows all kinds of commands. She is completely focused on her new mom and really seems to be doing her part to make this work.  I couldn't be happier.

I've committed to taking in a female rottie and two sharpei pups when I get back next week. 

(Having a great time in NYC.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lucky Libby

The two ladies who were behind the fund raising effort for Rocky are at it again.  (See, "A tale of two ladies", February 3, 2010). One of them has a rottie that she adopted from me and the other has a rescued lab.  It seems that they've been talking about Libby.  Anyway, the lab lady called me this morning and wanted to give Libby a try. 

It is a great opportunity for Libby and good for me too because I'm going out of town this week and it will be one less dog for the housesitter to cope with.  I gave Libby a quick bath to remove some of the kennel dust and we headed into Charlottesville early this afternoon. 

The two dogs seemed fine together.  Libby was mostly interested in exploring the beautiful backyard.  She was a house dog and a family dog at one time, so she should be able to integrate herself into a new home.  At the very least, I'll have a lot more information about the dog after she's been there a week, which should help in finding her a home.  If Libby is smart and plays her cards right, she may already have one. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekend update, part II

Sparky was barky last night and woke us up several times, finally making us both get up about 4:00 a.m.  That's not a great start to any day, but fortunately it got better from there. 

I left about 8:00 a.m. to take the General to meet a potential adopter in northern Virginia.  It was a great home, they have a young female boxer now, and after some introductions the dogs got along fine.  General's greeting style with other dogs isn't the best, but the adopter is big enough and experienced enough to handle it.  I liked his approach too, saying that he was basically going to assume that he was a puppy in terms of training, make no assumptions and start from scratch.  I think it should work out well.  I'm sure the two dogs will have each other exhausted this evening from playing with each other around the house. 

Trooper and Colby and I went on to the VGSR adoption event in Gainesville.  Another volunteer had offered to foster Colby while we are away so she stayed there.  But she had so much interest there today, I expect she will be adopted or well on her way to being adopted before I get back.  She's a super sweet and smart little girl.  She may be a challenge for someone as she matures because of that, but she will be a great dog. 
I also encountered a former foster dog today, one of the many Sampsons.  He's going great and that is always nice to see.  To top it off, I brought home enough donated dog food to fill my barrell, including a bag of limited ingredient (duck and potato) food that will be great for Thor's new food trial. 

So, with Ana getting adopted yesterday, there are three less dogs around here now, which will make going out of town a little easier.  We will board our five dogs, plus Sparky, and have someone who will be here to take care of Libby, Teddy, Trooper, and Thor. 

The pictures here are all old ones.  I had my hands full every step of the way today and never took a picture even though I had my camera along this time.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekend update

Friday was our vet visit.  Thor has not gained an ounce.  Two weeks of the enzyme powder hasn't made any difference so I'm guessing that exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is not his problem.  I bought a big bottle of Panacure to worm all the dogs again.  While some or all of them may need it, I'm pretty certain that that is not the source of Thor's problem. 

The next thing to try on him is a trial with a grain free food.  Unfortunately, because we are going away next week the food trial will have to wait until we get back, unless I just board him separately and take along his food. 

Sparky loved going in the car but was disappointed that all we did was go to the vet.  We muzzled him for the blood draw, which immediately elicited some major growls.  For the vaccines and exam, I just held his head and he was much happier.  The vet was wondering how to go about administering the kennel cough vaccine.  It's a squirt of liquid into the nostrils that no dog likes.  I suggested that I do it instead of her, and she quickly agreed.  I squirted it in his nose and he didn't even react, confirming my belief that he would let me do anything to him, but no one else. 

Anastasia got adopted today.  They are excited to have her and I have a good feeling that it will work out well. She's a sweet girl and really just seems to want to belong to someone.   

My last CASPCA foster was the very shy rottie mix they called Dallas.  I called him Rowdy, and he's now called Bernie.  He's enrolled in an obedience class with his current "foster" home, and I've been told that he's not coming back.  He couldn't have landed in a better place, so I've very, very happy for them all. 

 I'm going to the VGSR adoption event in Gainesville tomorrow, but before that am taking the General to meet an interested applicant.  We are just doing the home visit and meeting their female boxer at this point.  I'm taking along Colby and Trooper as well, but leaving Thor at home until we put some weight on him.  Colby is going to another foster home for the week that Clay and I are gone. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dog days of summer

The end of the week is here and I realize that I haven't written a post since last weekend.  It's not that I haven't been busy.  Mostly I haven't taken any pictures.  Plus, the heat drags everything down, except Colby, who is out in the dogyard right now with Ana, Trooper, Molly, and Zachary, trying desparately to get someone to play with her. 

I became curious about the phrase "dog days of summer".  Dogs are not crazy about this weather, nothing is.  According to wikipedia, it has to do with the Dog Star, Sirius. 

Colby got neutered on Tuesday.  She's doing fine in most every way.  She has really learned the routine around here and goes downstairs and outside without a leash and goes to and from the dogyard without wandering off to see what else is around.  She is cute, sweet, and smart.  We now believe her to be a mix of Dutch Shepherd and god knows what else.  She is peeing in her crate at night, however.  I think that is mostly just an issue of age, she is younger than I may have thought, still a puppy and really can't hold it overnight.  And her crate is big enough that she can pee in one end of it without affecting her nice dry bed.  I just need to put papers down in there. 

The General was neutered last week and is fine, but his scrotum filled up and maybe got infected.  That happens so frequently with male dogs that I really should routinely put them on antibiotics immediately after surgery.  So he's been confined to the house again mostly, is on antibiotics and rimadyl, and it seems to be resolving itself. 

Ana went to CASPCA with me on Tuesday when I picked up Colby after her spay.  We met cats, quite a few of them, and her reaction seemed pretty good.  So I'm taking her to her prospective new home on Saturday, as a result of our visit last weekend. 

The General's posting on Petfinder has generated several emails and interested applicants.  One of them sounds promising and isn't too far away from where I'll be on Sunday, so we may do a home visit with him this weekend. 

Thor has been getting the pancreatic enzyme powder on his food for the last two weeks.  We are going to have a weigh in today and see if he's picked up any weight.  He needs a reverse Weight Watchers program for dogs. 

I'm taking Sparky to the vet today to update his vaccines.  Sparky doesn't really like being handled by anyone but me, so we may be in for some fun. I've been neglecting him and feel guilty about it.  He wants to get back to hiking. 

Between the heat and surgeries, I've been keeping Trooper, Ana, Colby, and the General in crates in my office all week.  That means a lot of dog juggling, trips up and down stairs, to and from the dogyard.  The General has stopped marking on his way through the house.  Ana won't come until I put a leash on her.  She needs to go to a home with women, and she is. 

With no new pics, I decided this morning to take some pictures of my container garden, which is still looking pretty good, with a few exceptions, in spite of the heat.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Long, hot weekend

On Saturday I went to an Animal Connections adoption event held in conjunction with a Mini Cooper rally at Cooper Vineyards in Louisa County.  I took Libby.  It was a nice event and they are great supporters, but Libby and I didn't stay long.  It was hot as hell and the people there were interested in cars and/or wine, as one might expect; they didn't come looking for dogs.  Libby is friendly with everyone but doesn't have the best manners.  She can't help but be excited and active around a crowd of people, but it was too hot for that so we came home for an idle and cooler afternoon in the shade. 

Saturday evening Clay and I took Anastasia to the home of a former foster dog, Hooch.  I had lost touch with these folks after they adopted Hooch probably 5 years ago, but Clay's mother met them because Charlottesville is a small town and everyone worth knowing pretty much knows everyone else.  Anyway, they had a gathering of friends, family, and neighbors, including a couple who were interested in meeting our Anastasia. 

Hooch looks great and is insanely happy.  Ana relaxed after a while and enjoyed herself just as she had at the adoption event the week before.  The two dogs were fine together and the neighbors are interested in her.  One of them is out of town next week, however, and they have cats, so I'll need to see how interested Ana is in cats, but they definitely want to give her a try. 

It was a fun evening, but we didn't get home until midnight and then still had all the dogs to deal with here. 

Sunday I drove to Front Royal to a VGSR adoption event with Trooper, Thor, Colby, and the General.  Trooper gets better each week, it seems, but I'm still not letting many people other than VGSR volunteers interact with him out in public.  The General was a complete butthead, barking at every dog he saw from the moment we got out of the van.  I wasn't in the mood for that, so he went back into the van, which required me to leave it running with the AC on for the two hours we stayed at the event.  Colby was scared and very shy, but she did finally begin to come around a little bit towards the end.  Thor was his usual, friendly self, but no one really wants to take him on until we figure out how to make him gain weight.  The upshot of the whole weekend is that I still have every dog I started with. 

Lexi was at the Front Royal adoption day with her new foster dad and his dog, my former foster, Buddy.  Lexi is doing great, no complications from the heartworm treatment, and she is perfectly trustworthy indoors.  She is, however, terrified of storms and she destroyed an interior door in order to get into a bathroom to take shelter in the tub during a storm.  That door was replaced and they will be leaving it open from now on. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tippy and Rocky

Tippy was one of my fosters. From the date on her pictures, it seems that she must have been adopted out about a year ago. She has since moved to New York with her brother, Mo, and they have a huge, fenced backyard to play in now. Tippy's humans have gotten involved with fostering for a local rescue group, which I think is wonderful. It is very gratifying to see someone not only adopt but also move on to fostering or helping out the rescue effort in some way. Not everyone can foster, but anyone who wants to help can find something they can do.

With the move and the new house and fenced yard, Tippy & Mo are now able to take in fosters. The first one they planned to get got adopted before coming to their place, but they recently brought home a female GSD in need of a foster home. Tippy is a small shepherd, but she's a female shepherd and is fully in charge of big brother Mo and her entire domain. But she seemed to accept the female foster and set about showing her the ropes. She helped the new girl overcome her fear of the bath by repeatedly hopping in and out of the tub with her toy. Eventually the foster dog got the idea and ended up a cleaner and better smelling dog.

The humans have a cat in addition to Mo and Tippy. The new foster took off chasing the cat the other day and Tippy took off after them. But Tippy wasn't joining in the chase of the cat. Instead, she intercepted the much larger foster dog, decked her, and saved the feline's day. Mom was very proud.

Today Rocky passed his therapy dog certification test. I had thought the re-try wasn't going to be until September, but they did it today and he nailed it. As I said before, Rocky can hold his own in swapping stories of aches, pains, and medical procedures. The great thing about that dog is that he never let it get him down. He was always such a happy and loving dog, ready to let anyone love on him. I expect he will enjoy his new job. It's a more leisurely activity than the forced marches and Shayna and Shika call "hikes."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Let's play ball!

Libby is a 6 year old yellow lab who came along with Sam (owners lost their home and had to move to a rental that didn't allow dogs). She has sort of slipped through the cracks around here and I haven't got her picture taken or got her posted on the web anywhere yet. They said she is 6 years old, but she acts more like 6 months. She's a nice girl, but she does play kind of rough with the other dogs sometimes. She doesn't hurt anyone, but her style is a bit rowdy for some dogs until they get to know her and she learns to scale down her play.

Today I learned something about Libby that may help her get adopted. She's a big time ball player. She found a tennis ball in the dog yard and brought it to me. I gave it a toss and she tore out after it with great enthusiasm. She continued until I broke it off, she wasn't about to stop. Thor and Colby were running with her, clueless about the whole ball thing, but enjoying the play. That little Colby is a smart and sneaky girl. A couple of times she snatched the ball and made off with it, not really knowing what to do with it, but wanting to find out what the attraction was.

We all had a good time and now I know how to run some weight off of that girl. She's a little chunky and could use some exercise. I still need some better pics for a website posting and need to start taking her out to shop for a new home.

Neuter, spay, weight won't stay

Having new fosters around means repeated trips to the vet.  I use two.  The Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA does spay/neuters for the public and for rescue groups at a very good price.  Whenever possible I get them to speuter and vaccinate my foster dogs.  Nice folks and they do a great job; a wonderful asset to the community.  It would be nice if they someday become obsolete because everyone takes responsibility for their own animals, but that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

My personal vet is Old Dominion Animal Hospital in Charlottesville.  They also work with VSGR, Animal Connections, and a number of other rescue groups and SPCAs in the area.  I can't say enough good things about the vets and staff there.  I trust them with my own dogs and my fosters and I depend on them when I get a dog with any kind of medical issues.  They've seen my dogs through more diseases and problems than I care to name.  And just when I think I've seen them all, some dog brings in a new one.

The white shepherd, Anastasia, (above, left) went in yesterday for basic vet work.  She tested positive to hook worms, but no heartworms, thank goodness.  She was spayed and is now recuperating in a crate in my office, which is now rather full and busy with 4 foster dogs at night (Anastasia, Trooper, General, Colby), plus Molly and Zachary during the day.  Ana is a nice girl.  I got her on the web and have already had a couple inquiries about her.  She is good at adoption events and is going to do very well for herself.

The General (right) is at Old Dominion today for vaccines and neuter.  He is a bit of a marker and I'm hoping that behavior will abate a bit after the surgery.  I brought him indoors because he just sat outside and barked in the kennel.  He does love being out in the dog yard playing with the other dogs though.  I'm not sure my guys would be crazy about having an intact male around, so I really wanted to get him neutered as soon as possible.  His pictures are hitting the web today too.  He's a great dog.

Thor went to the vet yesterday for an appointment timed to coincide with picking up Anastasia after her spay.  Thor had already been vaccinated and neutered by CASPCA several weeks ago, but the boy is still too thin.  The scale at the vet's office confirmed that he has gained only two pounds in the month that I've had him.  I had wormed him and his fecal sample was clear yesterday.  He's been eating about 4 cups of food twice a day, so his lack of weight gain is suspicious.

Because he's a German Shepherd, you have to suspect pancreatic enzyme deficiency, food allergy, or some sort of digestive problem. We did some basic bloodwork but not the enzyme test because he wasn't fasted.  I have a bottle of the pancreatic enzyme powder, so I'm just trying it on him for a week or so to see if that does the trick.  If not, I'll switch him to Zachary's diet, grain free dry dog food supplmented with some raw food (chicken backs). 

It's doubtful that there is a "cure" so it means he will need an adopter who is willing and able to do the supplement, special diet, or whatever is going to be needed for this guy.

We may or may not find out what is wrong (these problems often seem to defy diagnosis), but I am confident we will find a solution that works.  Right now he looks like a skinny teenager who will be a good looking young man when he grows up and fills out.  I think he will be a spectacular looking dog when he puts on 20 pounds. I wish I could give him 20 that I don't need.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Road running

I got up and started work early this morning because I was scheduled to meet my doggie dealer down at Natural Bridge at 2:00 p.m. I left about 11:30 and we both got there about 1:30. She had two stray weimaraners that had come out of her local shelter. They are pretty girls, one is dark gray and the other very silver. They were rather shy and skittish, so we just moved the crates from Linda's truck to the back of my van without taking them out. I'll return the crates on the next trip and I'm sure there will be one.

I had taken a weimaraner from down there previously and then transferred the dog to a weim rescue group. They were willing to take these two girls, but the foster is out of town. Linda managed to get them a rabies vaccine so I could take them straight to a boarding kennel. The boarding kennel is east of our place, not exactly on the way home. It added about an hour and a half to the trip, but it was two dogs in a safe place that I didn't have to board here. They seemed happy to be reunited again too, having been kenneled separately at the shelter they were in.

The van was full today, because in addition to the two weims, I brought home a boxer and a shepherd, of sorts.

The boxer is awesome, confirming yet again my high opinion of this breed. I am running low on collars at home, but I had a red collar with stars on it that had been given to me recently. It looks good on him, and I'm tentatively calling him General, inspired by the stars. I'll get him neutered asap and hopefully have a dozen potential adopters to choose from.

He has quite a bit of white on his chest and a white stripe on the back of his neck that is very interesting. I guess the AKC standard disapproves of too much white on a fawn boxer, but the AKC can kiss my ass, this is a great looking dog. Disqualifying a dog based on color seems rather racist, or (Mel) Gibsonesque. I won't get started on the AKC or Mel Gibson, but my opinion of both is equally low, Sarah Palin low.

The last dog on today's run was brought for me to meet without making a committment. She was surrendered to a shelter, mostly because she kept going over to neighbor's house to play with their kids and in their pool. She was said to be a German Shepherd, about 8 months old. She obviously hadn't traveled much and had barfed in her crate and was wet with drool. She was scared when we got her out and before I had much chance to meet her, the sky opened up into a downpour. She hopped into the crate in my van, pretty much making the decision for me, but I expect I would have taken her anyway.

I'm not sure if she's a mix or a different breed of shepherd. She's young, cute, sweet, petite, and said to be good with kids, dogs, and cats. She has a shorter, smoother coat and should shed less than most shepherds. With a bio like that, she shouldn't be too hard to place, whatever she is. Her name is Colby, don't ask me why, but since she was an owner surrender she presumably knows it, so I'll stick with it.

It was a good day, but a high mileage one. The van now has over 200,000 miles on it. It got new brakes a couple weeks ago and a new oxygen sensor that made the check engine light go away, at least for now.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shepherd Sunday

Saturday was kind of a bust. Zachary got us up too early and consequently I didn't feel great and didn't do squat all day except meet a transport in Charlottesville that brought me a new shepherd, Anastasia.

I knew nothing about her except that she had a rabies vaccine (and that information turned out to be inaccurate). She was an owner surrender from way, way down in southwest Virginia. She had been kept on a tie out, got no attention and not much food. In spite of that, she is a very nice, well-socialized girl. She went into the kennel adjacent to Teddy, Thor, Libby, and Trooper for the night. Believing that she did have a rabies vaccination, I took her to VGSR's adoption event in Gainesville on Sunday. She didn't really know me yet and she was very scared at the adoption event initially, but soon realized that people were there to pet her and feed her treats.

She was good with people, really seemed to like children, and was good with the other dogs. When we got back home I put her together with the other fosters. I'm not usually that keen on white shepherds, but I think she is really well put together, a great look and a great personality to boot. She deserves better than what she had, and I'm going to see that she gets it.

This was Trooper on the drive to Gainesville. He climbed on top of the wire crates that are behind the seats, laid on top of them, and rode with his head on my shoulder. He is the sweetest damn dog.

He was better at Sunday's event than the last one, but he still does his big bark at any stranger who looks directly at him. We worked with several volunteers again, and a couple of members of the public even. Reach your hand out to him, preferably with a treat, let him sniff, touch, check you out, and he's fine, but he's intimidated by the direct stare and he does his best to scare off what scares him.

I don't know what is going to become of him. I doubt that he will ever become trusting enough of strangers to live in a crowded area like northern Virginia, or to live with or around children below the age of discretion. But he's absolutely adorable. When we got home on Sunday, I put them all in the dogyard for playtime. Trooper got a bath and then moved indoors to my office. Molly needs some company up here.

The real star of Sunday's event among my three was probably Thor. He's great in a crowd of people, calmer and better behaved than he is here at home among just other dogs. I think he's put on some weight, but not as much as he should have for the amount of food I've been putting into him.

I've wormed that kennel again, but I think I'm going to take him to the vet for some blood work. I'm suspecting a digestive problem, and given that he's a shepherd that's not a wild guess.

Friday, July 9, 2010


This is Cooper, an American Bulldog that I adopted out a few months ago. I received these pictures from his adopter yesterday. He's doing very well.

He lives with two other dogs and a number of cats. There are horses and chickens as well. The chickens learned to stay out of the dog yard and the owner took her time in introducing the dog around the horses.

Cooper was always a very friendly, sociable fellow. He has enough of a presence to make a stranger think twice, and I expect he would protect his new mom, but a well-intentioned person has nothing to fear from this dog. He really loves people and greets everyone with an enthusiastic wag of the tail, a big smile, and a slobbery kiss if he gets the chance.

He was really well behaved right from the start, but his adopter immediately started him in one-on-one classes with a trainer. I wish everyone would do that. It solves so many problems before they even start if the owner has a leadership position and the dog has some good, solid, basic obedience.

I really liked her approach. She didn't require or expect the dog to be perfect right from the start. She did her part and took control and responsibility for making it work.

He gets a combination of dry and raw food to eat, including fresh eggs everyday. He apparently loves going down to the river to swim, who wouldn't this time of year?