Monday, November 29, 2010

Holidays bite

Dog rescue doesn't stop for holidays, in fact holidays make it worse.  People dump their dogs rather than board them, or leave them home alone.  Some shelters euthanize as much as possible so they can work short hours with a skeleton staff over the holidiays.  Emails and phone calls continue to come in and here's just a sample of what I received while out of town.

1.  Email from a person whose dog was now quarantined after a holiday bite incident involving a visiting family member.  They had only had the dog for 3 weeks and the dog had been wonderful up to then, but guess what, dogs don't know your visiting relatives, they are just strangers.  Furthermore, dogs can't always read the excitement and hysteria created by joyous family reunions.  Bad situation, but particularly bad for the dog.

2.  Tearful phone call from a woman who introduces herself as "Mrs. ___"  (That always annoys me.)  She's got a malinois/shepherd she has to get rid of because the dog is overly protective of her yard and tore up another dog who wandered in.  The dog lives outside under an electric fence and goes after any other dog who comes onto the property.  She has also nipped a couple people.  They bring her in only at night (apparently to a garage or something) and have even, magnanimously, brought her into the house on occasion with their two small dogs.  The woman was told that the dog would make a good police dog.  I asked where the dog was now, while we were talking, answer:  "outside." 

This second situation, the phone call, brings up a few of my rants.  First, the outside dog thing, while her little fluffy dog lives indoors. That just burns me up.  Second, people who want a dog for "security" and like the protective instincts of the dog, but don't keep the dog safe from situations like this that will ultimately endanger the dog.  And third, fencing.  Underground fencing works well, generally, to keep your dog in, but it does nothing to keep your dog safe from other dogs or people coming in.  Still, it's better than no fence.  I've had this conversation with too many people over the years:

Question:  What kind of fence do you have?
Answer:  We live in the country, we don't need a fence.
Question:  What happened to your last dog?
Answer:  He was killed on the road.
Question:  What are you planning to do differently with a new dog?
Answer:  Huh? 

Why is it that people keep doing the same thing and expect different results?

Unfortunately, there are more of these contacts and events than the happily-ever-after endings that we work and hope for.  But that's just the way it is.  The ugly reality is that we save only a small fraction of the animals in need.  With all the non-problematic dogs out there needing homes, it just doesn't make sense to try to re-home those with a bite history or aggression problems, even if the incident or behavior wasn't really the dog's fault.

The pictures are totally unrelated to the post, but they came in while I was away.  They are pics of a former foster, a small but very alpha female named Tippy, her big brother Mo, and a new foster dog.  These folks have moved to New York and have gotten involved with a rescue up there.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Heading for home

This is Louie, Kate & Kim's new beagle.  He's a sweetheart.  All of their dogs are so well behaved compared to mine.  It's embarassing.  They live with cats, two parrots, and a large iguana, although the latter is generally confined.  Everyone gets along.  They range from a Jack Russell to a large white German Shepherd Dog.  Although the GSD belonged to a neighbor at one time I guess, he now eats, sleeps, and is cared for by  Kate & Kim. 

Louie picked a good spot to call home.  I'm sure it's a far better place than he came from, wherever that may be. 

We've had a good time and awoke to a light blanket of snow on the day after Thanksgiving.  We will be heading home tomorrow, sad to leave but it will be nice to get our own pack and the fosters back home again. 

Zachary has been glued to Clay since we left home.  I thought he'd relax a bit more after we got here.  He's been fine with the dogs and cats, but mostly he wants to go home.  Tomorrow we will be home.  I'll probably be able to get Molly, Trooper, Sunny, and Belle back tomorrow evening and the rest on Sunday morning.  I'll be meeting Tasha up in Gainesville Sunday afternoon and still need to make arrangements to retrieve Bubba and Jeremy. 
There's a new rottie headed my way next week.  A white shepherd that I thought I'd be taking may be getting adopted from the shelter instead. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

He's a keeper

I recently posted a picture of Griff the rottie with the young deer he had adopted as a fawn, now growing up. I was catching up on some email the other day and wrote the adopter to thank her for the picture and I said that I hoped that the deer could distinguish between Griff and other dogs. Apparently she can and only comes out when Griff is alone in the yard. We exchanged a couple emails and she sent this picture along as well:

I immediately wrote her back and told her that I wanted the dog back, joking of course. This was her response: "All joking aside... he is a keeper and will be loved and want for nothing the rest of his days."

Nothing could make me happier, or more thankful.

This is about the time of year that Griff was found. He showed up at the door of a couple over in the valley on Thanksgiving Day of 2007. They remember Griff fondly and tangibly every year by making a donation to Animal Connections, which I received last week.

I'll be printing out some pictures to send to them as a thank you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Next to normal

I still have some work to do and I haven't packed a thing, but any vacation around here officially starts when all the dogs are placed.  That occurred about 4:30 this afternoon when I delivered the last four to a kennel not far from here.  Tonight we have just one dog and one cat at home.  I guess that is "normal" for a lot of people, many people, perhaps even most people, but it seems very odd and abnormal to me.  Without two or three of the foster dogs outside talking to the neighbors' dogs, the evening seems eerily quiet around here.  Without two or three of the house dogs underfoot "helping" in the kitchen, the house seems empty.  I guess some people live that way, but for me it just means that vacation is underway.

All the stress of the last two months of wondering about how I'm going to place, move, or board 18 or 19 dogs has evaporated.  That I don't miss at all.  Everyone is safe and sound either in a permanent home, a temporary foster home, or one of two boarding kennels.  The housesitter has only the cat and the house to watch over. 

This near doglessness is an interesting sensation, but it's only temporary.  Tomorrow night by this time we'll be at my sister's place in Kentucky where the dogs outnumber the people and the gays outnumber the straights.  That's my kind of "normal."

The blurry beagle pic is my sister's newest canine addition, Louie. He wandered in and made himself at home at her place.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A rumble of rottweilers

Some time ago, I posed the question of what to call an aggregation of rottweilers.  My favorite response was a "rumble of rottweilers."  Although they are peace-loving canines, they are not to be trifled with, and a group of them together will make the house or earth rumble anyway. 

These are pics from Tasha's new foster home.  They agreed to take her in because I couldn't board her a week after surgery and I wasn't sure she'd enjoy the trip to Kentucky. 

Top left is a picture of me and Bernie.  He is the people-shy rottie mix called Rowdy when he was with me.  He is still suspicious and cautious with people, but he was happy to meet Tasha when we met in Culpeper to transfer her on Friday.  Top right is Bernie's cute face.  The next two pics are of the "Gang of 4."  First pic, from left to right:  Tasha (in front), with Sable behind her, then Bernie, and a lab mix named Murphy on the far right.  Sable was adopted from me.  She has a problem with perienal fistulas.  They flare up occasionally but she gets the treatment that she needs.  In the next pic, from left to right are Sable, Bernie, Murphy, and Tasha.  The 4 dogs share two households between them based everyone's needs.  The two boys are young and active, the two older girls are both pretty mellow. 

The last picture is Tasha. At last report, she wasn't bothering the staples in her side and everyone was getting along well.  I haven't heard from Jeremy since he first got home so I'm assuming that he's still doing well, and Bubba's first night in his temp foster home went well too. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Belle's birthday parade

Today is Belle's first birthday. We participated in a christmas parade on the downtown mall, walking with the group representing the Companion Animal Fund.

In addition to Belle, I took Sunny, TJ, and Bubba. Sunny wasn't thrilled and didn't want me out of her sight. TJ was fine but was over stimulated, which tends to make shepherds stupid. Bubba loved it, he worked the crowd like he always does. And Belle, of course, thought it was all about her.

She really likes a crowd of people and she was really pretty good with all the other dogs too. I didn't get any pics of her at the parade and taking pictures with the video cam isn't the best, but here are a few I did get, including some of Belle taken at home afterwards. The one that is just a big blur of black face and drool is Belle doing the Shar-pei head shake.

After the parade we met the folks who are going to foster Bubba while we are in Kentucky next week. So tonight at home we are down to 5 fosters, the fewest in many, many months.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Whittling away at the numbers

First off, the last I heard little Teddy had started playing with Cooper.  That's a very good thing.  He decided he didn't like the crate so he had spent a night in the kennel outdoors, but that's hardly a hardship for Teddy.  He might like the crate indoors better when it gets colder.  Also, he met a cat in the yard without incident. So far, so good.

Buck impressed the folks at Service Dogs of Virginia so much on Thursday that they are keeping him at least while I'm gone for further evaluation and possible placement.  They took him out in public, on the downtown mall, and shopping at Michael's.  He rode the elevator, he watched and observed everything, but was non-reactive. She said they often spend months of training to get them to that point and he's already there.  He was, however, scared of the clicker they use for clicker training.  They are thinking of a possible placement for him with an autistic child.  Time will tell. 

I passed off Tasha to another foster home this morning at our meeting spot up in Culpeper.  They brought Bernie along (formerly Rowdy).  He's still shy and scared of people but he took to Tasha immediately and wanted to play.  Her staples were all still intact and the incision looked good.  She's in good hands. 

Jeremy has been hanging out in my office mostly for the last few days and seems to enjoy it.  He went to another foster home late this morning too.  She brought her three German Shepherds out to meet him and then loaded up all four dogs to take home. 

I'm waiting to hear back from Lowe's about delivery of our new washer and dryer tomorrow, so I can make plans to get Bubba to his temporary foster home tomorrow as well. 

Also tomorrow is some sort of parade on the downtown mall.  I'm planning to take Sunny, Belle, and TJ to walk with group from Old Dominion Animal Hospital representing the Companion Animal Fund. 

If the temp fosters hold in place through the weekend, I'll be down to 10 dogs to board next week--our 5 plus Sparky, Trooper, TJ, Belle, and Sunny.  That's not bad considering the numbers I had here over the last couple months, and since I pay for the boarding, it's a big relief.

Apropos of nothing, these are a couple pics of Belle in my lap, taken at an adoption event a couple weeks ago. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gearing up to go

We go to my sister's place in Kentucky every year for Thanksgiving. Getting out of town is always difficult, for obvious reasons. This year I hope to get at least two of three fosters farmed out to other foster homes so we don't have quite so many to board.

Tasha is going to the home of two former fosters, a rottie named Sable and a rottie mix named Bernie (formerly Rowdy). She is still on antibiotics but nothing else for now and today the vet called with the biopsy results. They showed a Class 2 mast cell tumor. The classification was the only thing in question really. The report stated the pronosis as "fair" with a 70 month median life expectancy. That's almost 6 years and she's an 8 year old dog now, so I'd be happy if she had another 6 years. The edges of the tumor were "clean", which seems to be a good indicator that it had not begun to spread. The other blood work was good and she sure seems to feel better, so under the circumstances, that's about the best we could have expected.

Her incision looks good and we changed her t-shirt this evening.

Buck, a/k/a The Big Hairy Beast, has an interesting prospect. When I was at the vet with Jeremy this afternoon, I saw the director of Service Dogs of Virginia, which uses the space on the bottom level of the vet's office. They were looking for a dog that might work as a "balance dog", which basically is a dog that a person could hold onto for balance, which walking or while getting up or down. He certainly seems to have a rock solid temperament, so they are interested in meeting him. Clay is going to drop him off there tomorrow morning to spend the day.

I have two other foster homes, one of which will probably take in Bubba, not sure about the other just yet, but she is coming on Friday to meet the pack.

Jeremey is one that I'd like to get into a foster home. He's an older shepherd mix that I've had for quite a while now. He's had a rather persistent skin condition, which isn't contagious and has improved, but hasn't entirely clear up either. We have him on more antibiotics as a result of today's vet visit and he had a medicated bath indoors this evening and will be spending the night in a crate in my office.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Home at last

Buddy is a beautiful young male shepherd. That kind usually go really quickly and I did have a lot of inquiries about him initially. My first choice for him wasn't available because of other committments for at least a month. There were two people interested in him that I liked but neither of them could take him right away because of being out of town. I ended up placing him with the first one who came back and followed up, but they only kept him about 3 days. He's still very much a pup and doesn't have much experience with human households.

I didn't encourage many northern VA people because few of them have the time and committment that would have been required for this dog. I thought the first couple who adopted him would have made more of an effort, but I'm not sure that both people in that couple were really on board. He is very much a pup yet and he needs some work.

Buddy ended up being around long enough that my first choice for him became available after her October obligations were completed. I contacted her, she came to meet him, came back with her dog Starr later that same day, and I took him to her house last week. He climbed her fence but she strung an electric wire and that put a stop to that. He had a few accidents in the house, but the dog was more important than her rug. This guy had a few things going for him: 1. He started playing with Starr right away (one of my former fosters); 2. He wasn't threatening to strangers (this is the same home that had tried Trooper originally); and 3. He's just plain cute.

His adopter came by today and did the paperwork to adopt him officially, so he is home at last.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend wrap up

News and updates:

Tasha is acting surprisingly frisky and has not bothered the 20 or so staples in her side or the half dozen on the top of her head.

Teddy is doing well too. She is now leaving his crate open because he doesn't leave it anyway. But he did go to the door and whine to get her attention when he needed out. That's pretty impressive for a dog who has rarely been indoors. When he comes back in, he heads directly for his crate (his comfort zone). He isn't playing with Cooper yet, but he will, he did so when they were both here. He's just not relaxed enough yet to play. Perhaps the best news is that he's pretty much ignoring the cats and is intimidated by the indoor cats. No verdict yet, but things are going well so far.

Buck and I did a home visit today. Great home, nice folks, he was remarkably well mannered indoors and didn't even bother getting up when a cat popped out from behind the furniture and surprised us all. He will be a good dog for someone.

No word recently about Buddy. Usually no news is good news, but I'll check on him tomorrow.

We have 9 fosters this evening, same as the start of the weekend and this is probably my headcount for Thanksgiving. At least I need to make arrangments for 9 fosters and 5 of our own dogs. Next weekend will be mostly spent working ahead for the following work week because I need to cram 3 days of work into Monday so we can head for Kentucky on Tuesday the 23rd.

I'm going to try to find a foster home for Tasha while we are gone (taking Zachary with us because of his dietary needs), but failing that, we'll take Tasha to Kentucky and board Zachary here. A couple people have offered to take in a foster and I think I'll try to get both Buck and Bubba into other foster homes while we are gone. The rest of them I'll split up between two different boarding kennels.

[Pics: Top right: Teddy as a pup, I fell for that face and kept him instead of returning him to CASPCA after the ringworm cure. Bottom left: Tasha, as a young dog, from her first time in foster care.]

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The charmer

Buck and I did a morning meet and greet at the Fluvanna dog park with his prospective new home, meeting the current resident dog on neutral ground. The dogs were fine. There were a number of dogs there so they probably didn't know who they were supposed to be meeting, but there were no problems with any of them.

Buck was at least as interested in the people as the other dogs. It reminded me of when I used to take Emmylou up there to meet people. He went around and introduced himself and if he found a willing subject, he just sat down next to them for as much petting and attention as he could suck out of them. He worked the crowd.

My own dogs ganged up on him in the dog yard yesterday so he was limping a bit and he still is, although much less today, only noticeable when he runs. He was great in the crate in the office last night with Trooper and Tasha.

Our schedules are such that we can't get together until tomorrow late afternoon for an in-home meeting with the resident dog, cat, and husband, but this morning was another step in the right direction.

Tasha is doing well this morning, eating normally--she goggled down her pills in a small scoop of raw food and then finished up all the dry as well. She seems perky, not in pain.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Just a quick post because I know that a number of folks are wondering about her: Tasha came through the surgery without any problems. They did xrays and bloodwork before and both looked good. The vet removed a lot of skin around the tumor but got it closed up nicely with a combination of stitches and 20 staples. They also removed a small bump on the top of her head, but it was nothing but a cyst. The lab report will take a week, but so far, so good.

She ate a little of Zachary's raw food with her pills, and some dry, but she's still pretty groggy and inactive. She climbed the stairs on her own, however, and is in a crate in the office next to Molly and Zach for the evening.

p.s., Teddy's first night went well, he's just following the lead of the other two dogs, which is exactly what I was hoping for and expecting.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Teddy's try out

Trumpets must have been sounding this morning about 11:00 a.m. when I took Teddy to Cooper's home for what is expected to be an extended stay and hopefully an adoption.  It was a momentous occasion, the first ever adoption prospect for Teddy. 

Maybe he knew this was coming and the importance of the day.  He didn't make me chase him around the kennel this morning the way I usually do when I try to get a leash on him.  He hopped into the van like he knew where we were going.  When we got there he went into the yard and immediately began checking things out, much more relaxed than the first time we visited earlier in the week. 

We sat up a crate for him indoors where he will be near the other two dogs at night. 

Cooper was happy to see him, but then, Cooper is happy to see anyone and everyone.  Cooper is just a happy dog.  Cooper is confidence, Teddy is fear.  There is a sweet old girl named Honey who is about Teddy's size.  She is as calm as Teddy is nervous.  I think all the dogs will get along and enjoy each other.  Both of the resident dogs have a lot of offer Teddy and I think he could be a good companion for both of them as well. 

Only time will tell if he will make friends with the dogs, leave the cats alone, stay in the yard away from the chickens and horses, learn to live indoors, and learn to trust a human being.  Hopefully, this will be Teddy's time.

The Big Hairy Beast

We've been calling Buck the Big Hairy Beast around here.  This is Buck when I first picked him up.  He's a good looking dog but he's dirty and his coats is a mess.  Personally, I'm able to overlook that sort of thing, it's entirely superficial. 

He's an Animal Connections dog and that group pays for grooming of most of its little dogs because small dog people are like that.  In the summer, I would have hosed him off, shampooed him with Dawn, and combed him out with the rake that I use on my shepherds.  However, this time of year it is just too cold to do that outside, so he went to a groomer today for a makeover. 

I wanted him cleaned up, combed, and trimmed just enough to tidy him up.  Amazingly, that's just what they did. 

I picked him up this afternoon and also had a vet aspirate a few lumps.  They were just fatty tissue, nothing to be concerned about, but with Tasha going in for surgery tomorrow, I felt better having them checked and I can tell a potential adopter that they've been looked at already.

The groomer did a great job, just what I asked for and nothing more.  Buck's coat is soft and silky, he's clean and smells good.  He's upstairs in a crate this evening between Trooper and Tasha, staying clean. 

Clay dropped him off this morning and said that he rode nicely in the car on the way in.  The vet's office reported that he was good for the grooming, everything except the nail trim.  He's good with other dogs, and even met a cat when he was in there and paid no attention, even when the cat ran.  I brought him home and he came inside and ran upstairs like he had done it all his life.  He even went into his crate without a fight.  All the signs continue to indicate that this has been a household dog and a good family pet.

I'm taking him to Gainesville on Sunday to a VGSR adoption event.  He should get some looks and is the perfect alternative for a lot of people who think they want a shepherd but don't really know what that means.  Buck is all the dog without all the behavior problems that so many shepherds have. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cleaning up the desktop

I recently installed a new picture as the wallpaper on my desktop.  However, most of it was obscured by a mass of icons, many of which are dog photos downloaded from email.  I set about to clean them up today and this posting of mostly pictures is the result. 

Some of pics are of dogs that someone, somewhere, was looking to get into a rescue organization.  Many more of them are pics of my current or former foster dogs.  Unfortunately, many of the pics have no name associated with them and some I just don't recognize.  Cameras give the pictures meaningless computer file names and the names of the zip files that they arrive in are usually equally obscure.  Many of those that I can't identify were probably dogs that were sent to me in the hope that I could help.  In some cases, however, I'm pretty sure they were former fosters but I just can't remember who. 

I don't know if I'm losing my memory or the ability to associate names with images, or if it's just the number of dogs that have been through here, but I can't remember all the names anymore.  It's particularly a problem with the shepherds, because that's what I've had the most of and, let's face it, many of them tend to look the same after a while. 

Anyway, the top two pics are of Holly.  She's the female that came with Buddy.  I never got any good pics of her but her adopter graciously sent me a few.  She fit in well in her new home, good with the dogs, kids, and the household in general. 

These next two pics are photos of a poster advertising a therapy dog program.  The dog in the pictures is one of my former fosters, a ruby red Golden Retriever named Abby. I don't remember where I got Abby, but she was first adopted to a couple up near Culpeper, I believe.  The husband died in a tragic and freak accident one winter when he slipped on some ice, fell backwards, and suffered a terrible head injury.  Abby was returned after that and was subsequently adopted to a wonderful couple who drove down here from Delaware to adopt her.  It wasn't long before Abby was certified as a therapy dog and doing hospital visits. 

I'm very proud of her, the adopters, and even a little proud of myself for choosing them among many interested persons.  Actually, that was easy.  They were very enthusiastic and backed it up with an excellent application and references, not to mention a willingness to drive down here from Delaware. 

Tomorrow is the day that Buck goes in for his makeover and Teddy tries to find comfort and security in a new home.  This evening I drove to Richmond and finalized King's adoption.  Buddy has been in a new home since Monday afternoon and has managed to make friends with Starr (not always an easy task).  The little shit climbed or jumped her fence today, but she's determined to make it work and is planning to string an electric wire on top of the existing fence.  I'd love to be there to see the look on his goofy face when he gets zapped the first time.  Hopefully it will be the last time he tries to go over the fence.  It's a great home, I'd hate to see him blow it. 

This final pic is one of Griff with his latest foster, a young fawn who is growing up.  I just hope this deer doesn't think that all dogs are just like Griff.  Rotties are special, and Griff is a special rottie

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The "C" word

I got Buck scheduled for a vet visit and grooming session on Thursday.  I made another appointment at a second vet because I wanted to get Teddy vaccinated today so I can take him to his potential new home on Thursday. Tasha also needed to have a vet look at a spot on her right side that she has been licking excessively. 

Teddy's appointment went fine, and he was easier for me to catch in the kennel than he's ever been.  When we were in the vet's office he actually looked at me for security and almost acted like he trusted me.  Of course, he may have just been trying to make sure I'd be his ride home.  I do think he could turn around and be a more friendly dog, but this is not the right environment for him.

They aspirated the spot that Tasha was licking and found mast cells in it before I even left the office.   That's cancer.  We might as well say it and deal with it, there is no point in pretending it's anything else.  I've written about the diagnosis of cancer previously, and it's something all dog owners deal with if we are lucky enough to have senior dogs.  She seems to feel fine now and there's no evidence of it having spread at this point.  The tumor is on her skin, making its removal feasible without terribly invasive surgery. 

She now has a surgery appointment on Friday to have the tumor removed.  It is in an area where the vet can remove it with good margins all around and she says that when they appear on the skin the prognosis is better, but still, it sucks. They will send it off for biopsy in order to grade the tumor and then we will know more, but still, it sucks.  She's on antibiotics and a healthy dose of Benedryl, which may stop the itching.  We put her in a t-shirt this evening to cover it up rather than put a cone on her head.  She will have one of those after surgery, I'm sure.  Did I mention that this sucks? 

Tasha is a sweet, dear girl and an easy keeper.  She will stay outside in the dog yard on a good day or up in the office with me and Molly.  She's been sleeping in the bedroom occasionally or in the office with Trooper at night.  She can stay here forever if she needs to, but I was hoping to move her to a foster home where she'd get a little more individual attention and perhaps even a retirement home (she is 8 years old).  I had a couple possibilities in mind for her, but all of that will have to wait until after the surgery now at least.  I'm glad I got it checked and found this out before moving her, but still, this really sucks.

Unlike her prior owner, we will see this through to the end, be it 6 months or 6 years. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Plugging away

King was a hit in his new home over the weekend, the picture tells that story better than I can. He was good with the little girl, loves his crate, and enjoyed meeting new people. This was a backyard dog from PG County in Maryland, so it's somewhat amazing that he's as well socialized as he is.

He's got a big backyard with a 6' privacy fence to play in, which is great for King because he loves to play ball.

Today will be another test when they go to work, but if things continue to go well, we are planning to complete the adoption Wednesday evening.

I took Teddy for a visit to what I hope will be his new home yesterday afternoon. A cat walked up to him almost as soon as we were out of the van. Teddy didn't react, but he was too freaked out to react to anything. Cooper clearly wanted to play with him, but he was initially most attracted to the senior female dog, a small mixed breed about Teddy's size. She was very calm and Teddy liked being near her. He relies on other dogs for his sense of security and both of those dogs are calm and confident in their surroundings.

These pics are of Teddy and Cooper from their time together at my house last winter. Teddy always attaches himself to another dog. He's a dog's dog, and that would be his role in his new home if this all works out. It's a perfect fit for him, let's hope it is for everyone else invovled. Although it's hard to believe for anyone who has met Teddy out in public, he's actually a very happy and even confident dog when he's at home in familiar surroundings with his dog friends. I suspect that he will soon attach himself to Cooper as he did when he was here.

We will go back for a trial one day this week after I've checked his vaccine history and gotten him up to date on everything. She has a nice sized kennel within the fenced yard, and I think Teddy will feel more comfortable in there initially. It will give him a chance to scope out his new world from a smaller and more secure environment. I'll also take a crate to loan her to help him feel secure indoors. So far, so good.

I also need a vet appointment for Tasha and a small dog check with her, a cat test for TJ (probably wishful thinking on my part), and a vet check and grooming appointment for Buck.  Today we may be doing another visit with Buddy and his potential new home. It will be a busy week.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Adoption often seems like a matter of playing the odds.  The more irons in the fire you have, the better the chances of something happening.  So the last couple weeks have been largely a matter of developing prospects, and I have several right now, but only one actual adoption.  The one adoption isn't a surprise either, it was the boxer girl, Gracie.  She is sweet, gentle, rather calm and sedate.  She had been coming in the house at night since the beginning.  Stairs were new to her, but she took to the crate without a problem.  Like all the boxers we've had, she was just a really nice, sweet girl. 

A woman contacted me who has a female boxer that looks much like Gracie.  She came out to meet her one day last week and took her home.  I went to her place on Thursday and finalized the adoption.  Gracie, now Penny, has some things to learn, but she's a smart girl and the owner's attitude is what really convinced me that it will work out.  She didn't expect the dog to be perfect from the start.  She didn't expect the two dogs to be instant BFFs (best friends forever).  She knew that she needed to learn the dog's habits as much as the dog needed to learn hers.  I'm still sitting on the adoption contract for a while, but I have high hopes for this one. 

The category of "prospects" is much larger.  A woman who I've been trying to adopt a second dog to for the longest time came out on Friday to meet Buddy.  They hit it off and she went back home and returned with her dog, and the two dogs hit it off.  I may take him for a second meeting, on her home turf this time, perhaps tomorrow or Monday. 

Friday evening I drove over to Short Pump to meet a couple who were interested in the black shepherd, King.  They took him home for the weekend, along with a crate that I loaned them.  They were nice and it must not have been an immediate disaster because I haven't heard from them yet.  I expect we will talk tomorrow and see if they think it's a good match. 

Today was an adoption event with several rescue groups at the Best Western motel at Zion Crossroads.  It was indoors, which was nice.  I took Belle, Sunny, Bubba, and Buck.  Buck met a woman I've known for a while who had applied to adopt from VGSR.  She wasn't completely set on getting a shepherd, however, and she recognized Buck's potential.  He's obviously had some training; he appears to be housetrained; he's calm and sedate even in a crowd; and he's got a good, solid temperament (which is more than can be said about most German Shepherds).  I'm going to get him to the vet next week and to a groomer to clean him up, and then we'll go meet her household, cats included.  He met some cats today and didn't seem interested.  He's very interested in food and knows how to hustle.  All the signs seem to indicate that this dog has had some good social history with humans. 

The best possibility of the day, week, and entire year came in the form of a former adopter today.  She brought her dog Cooper (formerly Copper) to the event to say hello.  She's been doing a lot of training with Cooper, and now has him in advanced obedience and agility training.  She's thinking of getting him a playmate and she thought about Teddy.  I could hardly contain my excitement about a prospective home for Teddy.  And it does seem that he could be a good fit.  She wants a dog that she doesn't have to do much with and that she won't feel guilty about not taking to all the classes and such that she does with Cooper.  That's perfect for Teddy because he's even more anti-social than I am and he's perfectly happy at home.  He and Cooper have a history of playing and living together too.  Her cats are the biggest issue there and we'll just have to see.  Sometime tomorrow afternoon I'll take Teddy over there to meet and greet.  Keep your fingers crossed, say a prayer, or cast a spell, whatever you can do to send some good vibrations Teddy's way tomorrow. 

I'm doing a home visit tomorrow morning for a local couple who were interested in Trooper.  Trooper isn't a good choice for them, but Bubba probably would be, if they don't have cats--I'll have to check.  I'm still getting some inquiries about Belle.  I had a call this week from someone who met her at the vineyard last weekend, but he hasn't really followed up.  She is now listed on the shar pei rescue's website, so that may help.  The guys who were interested in fostering or possibly adopting Tasha still are, but I still need to check her out with small dogs and we need another vet visit to look at a raw spot on her side. 

I don't expect all of these prospects to pan out, but hopefully a few of them will.  Oh, and I think that Trooper is probably going to be my christmas present.