Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lab news

Maddie went to a new foster home last Sunday.  She had a placement in mind for the dog and apparently the dog is there now, is already trained on their electric fence (who said labs were dumb?), and is making herself at home. 
That didn't take long at all, it was just a matter of getting her out of here, and to someone who could find her a home.  Sometimes dogs languish here because I have too many other dogs that I'm pushing and sort of continually fall to the back of the line.  That was the case with Maddie.  I had too many other dogs, too many shepherds in particular, and she was getting neglected in terms of the adoption process anyway. 

But it may have been for the best because she ended up in a really great home, where she has a new name, Willow. 

And then there's Max.  The news here is somewhat surprising, but also very good, excellent in fact. Max's foster called and wanted to talk.  He's doing fine, still working on the cat thing, but no cats have been harmed.  He's doing so well that they've re-thought the surgery and decided against it, for now at least.  The x-rays don't lie and he has no hip joint to speak of.  But, he runs, he plays, he's getting stronger, he doesn't seem to be in any pain. 

I had a similar situation with a shepherd years ago.  The x-rays looked terrible but the dog felt fine.  I couldn't see cutting into a dog who was asymptomatic.  I adopted him out, with full disclosure of his condition and even sent along the x-rays.   The adopters knew that he might need surgery in the future, but he never did.  They kept him on joint supplements, and most importantly, kept him exercised and lean. 

Max might need surgery in the future, but for now he's ok.  He was underdeveloped from lack of exercise because he lived with Maddie in a small pen and never really got out.  Now he's running, playing, and gaining lean muscle mass.  We are going to leave well enough alone for now.

However, I collected a lot of money from many generous people for this surgery.  I haven't cashed anyone's checks yet because I wasn't going to do so until I sent out the thank you notes and I was just now getting around to doing that.  So I'll be sending your checks back with a thank you note in the next few days, before I leave for vacation anyway.  For those of you that made donations in other ways, I'll take care of getting that back to you as well.  The response was overwhelming and heartwarming.  We collected enough to pay for the surgery, but I'm happy that we don't need to use it.  The time may come when I need to ask for help again, and I will, but I don't want to go to the well too often. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oh happy day

I'm rapidly moving into vacation prep mode, which is always rather stressful.  I'm counting noses and deciding who is going where or staying at home while we are away.  So it was a very happy surprise when I got an email and later a phone call from a man who had met Schatze earlier this summer and now wants to adopt her!

I had forgotten about this guy but instantly remembered him when I got the email.  He had met Schatze up at a Gainesville adoption event a while back.  He had a month long trip to Montana in the works so the timing wasn't right for him then.  I remember being disappointed, because I liked him, he liked the dog, and he had none of the usual obstacles to a successful adoption.  He lives alone, is retired, no cats, no other dogs, wants a companion.  That's perfect for Schatze who wants, and needs, a one-on-one relationship with her person.  She's gotten too attached to me and I can't give her what she needs. 

The cool thing about this is that the guy called the rescue within hours of arriving home.  He's ready.  He lives way the hell and gone over on the Northern Neck, but Clay and I are going to drive that way on Saturday to meet the guy and hopefully place Schatze in her new home.  She will be so happy.  She has been insisting upon coming in lately, even during the day.  She doesn't mind being crated, but she wants to belong.

I like those needy, tightly wrapped, daddy's girl dogs.  So cross your fingers or your paws, light a candle or blow one out and make a wish, perform your favorite superstitious ritual, I really want this to work for Schatze. 

I picked up this little dog today, who looked rather lost in the big crates in my van.  I brought her home for the afternoon, set her up in a crate outside in a shady spot on the grass, and then took her to a temporary boarding kennel until a foster or adopter is found. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Profitable random encounters

I've said before that so much of the adoption process seems totally random.  It's very much like fishing.  We put our dogs on the internet and take them to adoption events, getting them out there, dangling them under the noses of potential adopters in the hopes that one of them will take the bait.  You can do the same thing day in and day out and have wildly different results.  It's a matter of the right person seeing the right dog at the right time, either in person or on the internet.  All we do is try to increase the chances of random encounters. 

Saturday was pretty much a washout around here due to Hurricane Irene.  It didn't amount to that much around here, thankfully, but it was enough to mess up plans.  I stayed home and cooked all day, and ate.  But Karin Straley went out for a few hours with a new batch of little dogs she had with Animal Connections.  Somewhere in the course of the day she ran into or spoke with a mutual acquaintance and mentioned the female black lab, Maddie, and my need for temporary foster homes.  She is a big dog person and knew another big dog person who was currently without a big dog, and thought it might potentially be a match.  After my trip to Gainesville and back on Sunday, Clay and I drove Maddie out to Crozet.  That lab knew heaven when she saw it.  Lots of room to run, dog friends to play with, easily the best gig she has had.  This is just a new foster home, but it may also be the next step in getting her adopted to a permanent home. 

I was late getting home from Gainesville on Sunday because the adoption event went longer than expected due to another random occurrence.  About the time I was thinking of leaving a woman happens by and meets Ryland.  She seemed interested and seemed like a good prospect for him, so I was more than happy to stick around a while longer.  She got on her phone and had her oldest son come by with their dog, and their cat, to meet Ry.  The two dogs had a pissing match on the shrubbery but got along fine and Ryland was indifferent towards the cat. 

I'm not sure yet what will come of it, but I have hope.  Mostly it demonstrates the random nature of this process. 

Schatze, yesterday at Gainesville.
Alert and intent, as always.
Other developments:  Later in the evening I had an email from a former adopter expressing interest in Riddle.  That would be a great placement, I love repeat adopters.

Roman is doing great in his new home and is now known as Reilly.  That dog couldn't be luckier.  Perhaps he shed some of that luck around the kennels and dog yard that the other dogs will pick up.  I hope so.

I moved Schatze back to the dog yard when we got home from Gainesville because her kennel is too muddy.  She and Ryland came inside last night to crates in my office. 

Candy is coughing much less now.  I sure wish I could have taken her out on Sunday but I didn't think it was the responsible thing to do.  I did take Gypsy Jr. and she was great with the crowd and other dogs.  Sparky was glad when she got back home, however.

Two of Thora's five pups at Gainesville yesterday.  The one on the left should be named "Trouble."
I didn't take Thora because I wasn't sure how she would react to seeing the pups again after being separated.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The essential Ryland

Ryland is pretty much the ultimate low-key dog.  He's mature, but not old, may 5 years or so.  He's been around long enough and seen enough to know what is important and what is not.  Things not important enough to rile Ryland are stange people, dogs, birds, or anything else likely to set off the shepherds that he's been forced to associate with here at my house.  Ryland knows that the important things in life are, this order:  food, and a nice place to nap. 

The only times Ryland has been involved in an altercation with another dog it concerned food.  He will protect his food, even when common sense should tell him that he's outweighed, outnumbered, and outdogged generally.  Ryland has undoubtedly been through some very lean times, so I can't blame him about the food.  He has settled down a lot since he's been here, however, and seems to know what he's going to be fed again, even if it's not the quantity and frequency that he'd prefer.  Ryland eats in the dog yard with 2-6 other dogs and we have no problem.  He gets his food first because he is a slow eater, and everyone else just keeps their distance until Ryland has finished.

He has been coming into the house in the afternoons and/or nights since it got really hot this summer, and particularly since Jeremy died because they were buds and hung out together.  Ryland uses a crate without a problem but I don't think he really needs one at least if anyone is around.  He is not above rummaging through some garbage or seeing what's up on the counter, however.  If he can reach it, it's fair game.

Ryland is the low-key dog that so many people need instead of the shepherd they think they want.  Few people really have the time and space in their lives for a crazy young shepherd who needs training and  nearly constant entertainment and stimulation.  Perversely, the people who generally want that dog are people whose lives are already fully scheduled and who really only have time to pat a dog on the head when coming and going.  Ry is happy to be that dog who is just hanging around, ready for some action when it happens but content to wait for it. 

Ryland may have a little shepherd in him, but probably less than I do.  He's really a generic beagle/hound mix, a Fluvanna County special.  That hound in him gives him his focus on the two most important things in life (see above).  He also has a hound's typical aloofness and distain for obedience.  Ryland has very selective hearing; although he can hear a food dish being touched 50 yards away, he apparently can not hear me yelling for him when I want him to come.  Forunately, he lacks that other typical hound characteristic, the desire to follow his nose to the ends of the earth.  If given the chance, Ryland will wander off when I'm moving dogs from the dog yard to the house.  He did so again last night, and it drives me crazy, but there was no real cause for concern.  I walked around looking and yelling for him in the dark, to no avail.  I came back inside and waited 30 minutes, and when I went out again he popped right up, ready to come inside. 

He slept in the bedroom last night, just curled up on a bed, a ball of happy hound. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Medical needs

I'm down to 9 fosters at the moment, but 4 of them have medical issues requiring various medications and special handling. 

Riddle is doing better, his scrotum is shrinking, and although he's still coming indoors to a crate at night, I'm giving him more outdoor kennel time during the day.  He gets two antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory medication twice a day.  Fortunately, he gobbles up everything in his bowl, no need to hide the pills in canned food or pill pockets. 

Candy is coughing slightly less, but whether that represents a clinical improvement or just the effect of the cough suppressant, I'm not sure.  She gets doxycycline twice a day and the cough medication 3-4x per day.  Her meds are small and the pill pockets work well for her. 

Yesterday's vet visit (my third this week) was with Thora.  I pulled her out of the kennel with Sparky and Gypsy Jr. when they ganged up on her again the first of this week.  She wasn't hurt, but I noticed several new spots of missing fur.  I first thought that someone had ripped off a chunk of skin and fur, but looking closer realized that her skin was red, inflammed, and terribly itchy again.  I had her vaccines re-done and did the 3-way heartworm test as well since we were there.  She is now on prednisone, cephalexin for the skin infection (two pills), and doxycycline because she tested positive for Lyme.  She is kenneled by herself now too, which is good because she will only eat her twice daily pills if I hide them in canned food, and that's the only way she eats much dog food as well. 

And then there is Bo.  He had his final heartworm treatment this week and is back home, still on doxycycline twice a day, and on prednisone as well.  The pred is a problem, because it makes him drink a lot and urinate a lot.  I have set up a small kennel right off the front porch and put a cover over it for shade.  He is going to be there mostly until we taper off the pred to the point that he can control the  urination. 

I think I'll be able to move Riddle to another foster or adopt him prior to our vacation.  I'm talking to someone about fostering Bo and he will be off the pred by then, which will make crating him indoors so much easier.  Candy's only problem is the cough and that should be gone soon, so I hope I can find her a temporary foster while we are away.  Thora is looking like she may need some special care.  She will certainly still be on medication but I hope we will have the terrible allergic reaction under control by then.  I don't know why it flared up again so badly unless she's allergic to straw or the food she's been getting. 

The weekend isn't sounding too promising in terms of weather for adoption events, so I'm not sure about the prospects for getting anyone else adopted out. VGSR is in Gainesville on Sunday, and Saturday I was planning to go out with Animal Connections to a local vineyard for a big event, taking Maddie and Ryland. 

Today was the first day all week without a vet visit, but I had an appointment with my own doctor instead.  Just the routine, 6-month check up and blood work, but I was down about 10 lbs since my last one!!!  I stopped at Giant on the way home to buy some fish to grill for dinner (heathy eating), but also picked up a box of celebratory donuts.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Little girl, big cough

This is "newest girl," I'm calling her Candy for lack of a better name.  She is the one I got from the Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA last Friday.  She was technically a stray and had to be held for 10 days, but she had been seen tossed from a car in a park in Harrisonburg so it's no surprise that no one came to claim her.  My fervent hope is that the person or people responsible for that find themselves abandoned by family and friends at some point in their life and have a flashback to the moment that they pushed her from the car and sped away.  Karma can be a bitch and will come back to bite you on the ass. 

Candy has a cough.  A BIG cough.  She is a petite little girl, probably not more than 30 lbs, but she coughs like a 2 pack-a-day, 30 year smoker.  She has a respiratory infection, broadly identified as "kennel cough" that she probably picked up and spread around in the shelter.  We went to the vet yesterday (after things had settled down from the earthquake) to get her checked out.  The good news is that she feels fine, didn't have a temperature, and she tested negative for heartworm/lyme/erhlichia.  She got a rabies vaccine and the others had supposedly been done in the shelter although I'm waiting on paperwork to show it.  I'll get her other vaccines done (or repeated) when she's over this cough. 

She is a sweet little girl too.  Very squirmy, but I expect this was her first ever vet visit although she appears to be between one and two years old.  She's in a kennel by herself in an attempt to isolate and contain whatever she has, so I can't try her with other dogs.  She had a big bark for everyone when she first arrived, but she has settled down nicely and has been an easy foster.  She can and does eat a like big dog, and she needs to, so I'm feeding her 3x per day for now. 

I'd love to move her to another foster home; she's cute, sweet, and probably very adoptable, but I'm not sure a lot of folks other than me will welcome her until the cough is gone.  She got doxycycline and a cough suppressant from the vet.  We are hoping for a quick cure. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Love is a warm scrotal sack

Riddle got neutered last Thursday, the same day that Annie was spayed.  He bounced back first.  He ate the same day and acted like everything was fine.  Annie had a more invasive surgery and she took a couple of days and had to be coaxed to eat with some chicken and rice on the second day after surgery.  Once she got back to eating and got her pain meds in her, she recovered quickly too and by the weekend she didn't act as if she had any problem. 

Riddle, on the other hand, got too active too soon and is paying the price for it now.  I'm not as good about keeping the males quiet after surgery as I am with the females.  I kept him crated most of the time for the first couple of days along with Annie, but I probably gave him more outdoor time since he seemed to be feeling fine.  And he may have been licking himself as he laid in the crate, bored with nothing much else to do.  For whatever reason, his scrotum became quite swollen and enlarged, making it appear as if he hadn't even been neutered.  Actually, it's even bigger than that, about the size of small grapefruit or a very large orange.  I noticed it on Saturday and immediately started him on antibiotics.  This is not an unusual occurrence with large males after being neutered.  It looks terrible and it looks painful, but the testicles are gone so there really isn't much there to be hurting except the swollen tissue itself.  He didn't seem to be bothered by it, but it's one of those things that makes any guy who sees it cringe, because we just imagine how painful it must be. 

I took Bo to the vet Monday morning for his second round of heartworm treatment, so I took Riddle along as well even though it was already looking a little better.  They checked him over and it didn't seem to be infected or filled with fluid that needed to be drained, it was just swollen.  The prescription, which I knew, was to continue the antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drug, put a cone on him so he can't lick it, keep him crated, and apply warm compresses two or three times a day.  Yeah, right.  Sure, that's gonna happen.  But I picked up some acepromazine (a tranquilizer) from the vet, and we are giving it a try.  With enough ace in a dog, you can do most anything to him, and I really like Riddle and I want to move him next weekend, so we are going to make this better. 

Nothing says "I love you" like a warm compress on a sore scrotum. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday shuffle

Annie has a very intelligent look
Sunday didn't see any more adoptions, but I did move two fosters to other foster homes, so I ended the weekend with three less dogs and that's not too bad. 
Ryland and Annie
I gave it a good shot on Sunday.  I took 6 dogs to a VGSR adoption event in Front Royal:  Riddle, Schatze, Thora, Luke, Annie, and Ryland. 

Ry rode in the front seat with me on the way there but shared the space in back with Riddle on the way home.  Annie and Luke went to other foster homes.  I'll take them back when we are home from vacation, but I expect that Annie at least will be adopted by then. 

I think Riddle will have a new foster home to go to next weekend as well.  I still haven't put him on the web.  I'm hoping that his soon-to-be-new-foster-home will place him with someone we both have in mind. 

Thora, recovering from motherhood,
 putting some weight back on.
My goal is to get at least three more fosters moved or placed before our trip.  That would leave 6 fosters and our own 6 dogs to deal with, either by boarding or entrusting to the housesitter, or some combination thereof. 

Luke and Schatze

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Updates in email

I'm tired and lazy tonight, so posting some pics received in recent emails is an easy way out, and they are overdue.

This is Sophie, at the beach, and relaxing with a toy.  Great pics. 

Time for some boxer news.  On the left is Abby, a very sweet, adorable boxer girl.  She lives with a French Bulldog, a little girl, and two adult humans.  I really loved this girl and I will have a boxer some day. 

On the right is Zoe. She lives with Bernie, Murphy, and Sable, but is shown here visiting and playing with another boxer. I had forgotten how big her ears are and they look particularly big flapping as she runs. 

This is an artist's rendering of Tevya.  The painting was a gift to Tevya's dad from his mom.  Great gift idea. 

This is that long haired shepherd I pulled from Nelson County.  He went to another foster home.  He got shaved down because his coat was hopelessly encrusted with crud.  He was barely 60 pounds under all that dirty hair, but here he is up to about 75 pounds, just prior to his adoption.  He loved his foster mom who must have been the first person in his life to take good care of him.  His adopter wanted him even when he still had some medical problems.  Folks like that are few and far between.

Ok, that's about it for tonight.  If I've missed anyone, I'm sorry.  This last pic is an update from my most recent adoption.  Yesterday Roman went home with Hans to a new life.  He will have a new name as well, but I don't think that's been decided yet. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday in pictures

Schatze with her ball.  She's always with a ball. 
I always pull a couple out of her water tank each morning.

Bo, peeking out of the doghouse.  He now enjoys petting and contact,
 but today he was scared of me again for some reason, I think it was the hat.

Roman is over the trama of being dumped and is ready for a new home.
Maddie, the female black lab,enjoying the fresh water

This is Hans, he was known as Boomer when he was my foster.
He was skinny as a rail but now gets an enzyme supplement.
He looks great, just needed some help digesting his food.
Hans and his mom came to meet my fosters today.
They went home with Roman.
He hopped in her car like he had always belonged there.
He was ready for a new home.

Friday, August 19, 2011

An even dozen

I'm calling her "Newest Girl" at the moment because she just arrived today.  The shepherd previously known as "New Girl" is now Annie.  Newest Girl arrived late this afternoon from Harrisonburg.  She is petite, rather young (I would say under 2 years) and right now she's being rather vocal.  I'll introduce her to the others tomorrow, for now she's in a kennel by herself where she can see and be seen by the other dogs.

If my math and memory are correct, I think she brings our total of foster dogs to 12.  That would include:  Bo, Maddie, Schatze, Roman, Ryland, Luke, Sparky, Thora, Gypsy Jr., Annie, Riddle, and now Newest Girl.  The gates are now closed and the entrance is one-way until after vacation.  I need to move some out and I can not take any more in.  But I have a couple possible adoptions and two or three offers to take a foster.  I hope to end the weekend with fewer dogs. 

Newest Girl's story, like all of them, is a heartbreaker.  Apparently someone was seen throwing the dog out of a moving car and then speeding away.  This occurred in a park in Harrisonburg.  What a sorry piece of human excrement. 

I think she's closer to one year than two.  She is very petite and her tail is as long as her body.  Still, she's all the female shepherd anyone could ask for in a small package.  That tail is held high and she's full of confidence, although it remains to be seen if that is true confidence or mere shepherd bravado. 

I think I'll have to let her meet at least Roman this evening so I can put the two of them into the shed together for peace and quiet in the neighborhood. 

Riddle and Annie have been crated all day.  Riddle is eating and acting normal, but I'm keep him indoors through the weekend anyway.  Annie isn't barfing anymore and she hasn't eaten today so I know she's not feeling great.  The spay surgery is tougher and takes longer to recover.  Both dogs are good at doing the stairs, both up and down, and are good in their crates.