Thursday, December 29, 2011

Last Thursday of the year

I'm not sure if he was yawning or barking
Rufus is a handsome, if somewhat gangly, dog

Nothing much to report from today.  I went to the vet with my two latest additions, Rufus and Zora. 

Rufus is so tall, long, and lean, he looks like a gangly teenage boy whose legs have grown faster than the rest of his body.  He's a good looking dog and he seems to know some commands (sit, paw, down), but leash walking isn't among his skills.  He was friendly at the vet's office, but apparently it took 4 of them to hold him still for the blood draw.  He's a nice dog, already neutered, and I think he will get some interest quickly once I get him on the web.

Zora in the shed after our vet visit.
Yesterday I filled it with fresh straw.
Zora and Willy the boxer share a kennel during
the day and the shed at night.
Zora was as cute and sweet as I thought she would be.  We checked her teeth and determined that she's more likely 1-1.5 years old rather than the 8 months I was told.  No matter, she's still young and she was very good.  She weighed in at 42 pounds, which is a little more than I expected.  They were able to verify that she was in fact spayed; she had a tattoo at the incision site. 

Both dogs got vaccines because I had no records of them, and they both tested negative for heartworm, and had a clear fecal test.  Easy day at the vet's office and a good one. 

I also got to see Laila, and I dropped off the adoption paperwork to make it official.  She looked good, seemed happy to see me, and she's growing and gaining weight.  That little girl and I had a very intense week or so together.  I doubt that she will remember it, in fact I hope she doesn't, but I will certainly never be able to forget it. 

After the vet visit I sat in C-ville Coffee for a while and caught up on dog paperwork that needed to be sent in.  I still need to write a couple more thank you notes.

Thursday evening found me still working, and worrying a bit about Trooper who is hacking and spitting up.  He's quiet in a crate now, but if he's still doing that in the morning we will be making another trip to the vet.  Trooper isn't vet-friendly, of course, so that would be an adventure I would prefer not to have. 

I'm keeping little Woody with me in the office quite a bit.  He's dragging shoes around from all over upstairs.  He loves dead and dying stink bugs, and I've had to get all the computer wires and cables out of his reach. 

I am making a trip to northern Virginia on Sunday to meet potential adopters for Thora and Woody.  If I get Rufus posted I might drum up someone who is interested in him as well. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I think I've told this story before.  We once took in two or three dogs from the same source, I think it was a person who died, went into a nursing home, or something.  Two were what I would judge to be pretty adoptable dogs, I think they were shepherds.  Then there was Pearl, an aging, mixed breed, non-descript pudgy mutt.  I wasn't going to take just the more adoptable dogs and leave the third behind, I think that stinks.  So I took Pearl, thinking that I might have her to the end of her days.  Pearl, however, was the first of the group to be adopted and she was adopted the first time I took her out.  What Pearl had going for her, in addition to being sweet, mellow, and housetrained, was the fact that she looked like a dog that everyone had at some point in their past.  She was EveryDog. 

At the one and only adoption event that Pearl attended, we heard again and again comments like "that looks just like a dog I had growing up." I took her to one of those people later that day and she got a great home because of it.

Zora meeting Molly.
This little girl owes more to Molly than she will ever know.

Zora came to me today.  She's only about 8 months old, not quite fully grown yet, and seems very sweet.  She isn't a shepherd or a rottie, she's pure mutt--part shepherd, part hound, part whatever.  I agreed to take her as soon as I saw her picture, however, because she looks like a pint-sized version of our Molly.  She's also sweet, housetrained, and maybe spayed already, but mostly I agreed to take her because of the look, as shallow as that sounds.  It wasn't a look I could turn away.  She's about the size of the boxer, Willy, who needs a companion who won't beat him up, so I'm pairing them up for the time being.

Zora meeting Willy
They have similar size, speed, and energy.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas cards

Here are some of the photos I've received from former fosters in the past few weeks.  Some were sent in email, some were posted on Facebook, and some I received the old fashioned way with actual cards via snail mail.  I like them anyway they come.

This is Anthony, one of the senior dogs from the hoarder. 
He has a fantastic new home, new life, so much better than anything in his past.

This is Barth, formerly Harlan. 
His new dad got involved with a rescue group in North Carolina.
Barth is welcoming to the fosters as he always has been to everyone he meets.

This is Dusty in her Christmas bandanna, no reindeer antlers, thank you, her real ears are big enough.

This is Griff, formerly Nick, formerly Buddy.  He was abandoned over in the valley,
but was lucky enough and smart enough to find his way to some good folks who got him
to me.  He was even luckier to be adopted by the director of the shelter run by the
Rappahanock Animal Welfare League.  He is now living the rottweiler dream.

This is Henry, who now lives in Ohio.
Still wild and crazy after all these years, but they love him.

The dog on top is Coby, formerly my Hunter. 
He and Bella are now inseparable and they both love it.

The dog on the left is my former foster Mack,
shown here with his very own kid and a buddy.

This Shika, Shayna, and Rocky (left to right), along with Rocky's therapy dog business card.
I knew Shayna when she used to live in Virginia, but she drove out here from Utah to adopt Rocky.
The three of them have since moved to Texas, where Rocky continues his therapy work.

This was Sunny when I had her, she is now named Sophie, but they call her "Bug".
I'm not sure why, but I suspect it's because she constantly bugs anyone around to play with her.

And this is Luke.  I am so happy for Luke.  I adopted him out many years ago to someone who returned him when he was nine years old.  I didn't have much hope of finding him a home, but Steve and his wife Sandy took in Luke as a foster.  Within a few weeks, they found Luke a wonderful home.  That is Steve in the Santa suit; he gave Luke the best possible Christmas gift, a home.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The twelve dogs of Christmas

While racking my brain this morning for another Christmas theme, I realized that we had a total of 12 dogs right now, so this was a no-brainer.  Just pictures of dogs, our own and fosters.

Zachary, in the shed, ready to eat.  He takes his chicken back into one of the nest boxes and eats in private.

Cabell, very camera shy, only consented to this picture because he was eating and didn't want to leave his food dish.

Bremo isn't the most obedient dog, but he has the fastest "sit" when there is food involved.

Trooper on top of his platform, waiting for his breakfast.

Molly is almost as camera shy as Cabell and wasn't too cooperative with the picture taking this morning.

Radley, very sweet boy.  Getting him adopted is my next big goal.

Thora, not a great picture with her head in the food bowl, but still a pretty girl.
She has been great for the new guy, Rufus.

Nero, my next big medical project.  He's on some new meds to try to clear up his face.  The tail is another issue.

The new guy, Rufus, getting his new tags and doing the "love and lean" with me this morning.

Sparky (left) and Gypsy Jr. (right)
It's hard to get a picture of one of them without the other.

Sparky and Gypsy Jr. again, playing in the new straw.

Willy, the boxer.  I've got to pick a home for him.

If you've been keeping count, you'll realize that this picture of Woody actually makes 13,
 rather than 12 dogs of Christmas.  That brings up a long-standing debate I have with Clay.
I don't count puppies, he does. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa comes early

Rufus, handsome boy
[Bear with me on the xmas theme; there's just a couple more days to go.]
Rufus is just over a year old.

Santa came in the form of a VGSR volunteer who rescued a shelter dog today and brought him to me to foster, effectively giving the dog a new home and a new life.  Rufus came to a shelter when his former owner got arrested for, among other things, assaulting a police officer (with a butcher knife).  It is likely that Rufus' former owner won't be free to be looking for his dog for quite a while, but just to be safe, we gave him a new name upon his entry to our canine witness relocation program.  He is just over a year old, very tall, handsome, and friendly.  He has been living in an apartment so I would say that he's housetrained.  He's paired up with Thora for now and they seem to be fine together, although he's doing a bit of howling out there this evening. 

Santa came last weekend as well, bringing a lot of dog food, blankets, and a gift that I turned into bales of straw today to keep the kennels and sheds dry, comfortable, and cozy if it should ever turn cold around here. 

Rufus is a tall drink of water.

Clay's brother, Hugh, with Woody
Clay's mother, Berta, with Woody
Santa is a shape-shifter and appeared again today in the form of Clay's mother and brother, who came out bearing toys for the puppies.  Woody had a great time with the toys, but he enjoyed even more meeting, playing with, and being held by new people. 

Laila may have received the greatest gift of all.  After several days at the clinic, with surgery and loving care from the staff, she went home for a couple days of recuperative care with the mother of one of the hospital's staff.  I know she's in good hands and she's getting more intensive and individualized care and attention than she would get here.  And the woman has sort of been looking for a dog after losing one a few months ago, so this will give her a chance to see if she's ready and to determine what she's ready for.

Woody, loving his new toys, but keeping an eye on me at the same time.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Making room at the inn

Ok, I'm pushing the xmas theme this week, but it's the week for it.

When I opened my email and Facebook this morning I was confronted with three dogs.  Dog # 1 is in a rural shelter, but I learned later in the day that some other group was taking him.  That's great, I just hope it wasn't this outfit that I heard of recently that was looking for shepherds to train for police and military work.  They are in it for the money and sell the dogs at a ridiculous price.   What they don't mention, however, is that dogs who don't do well in their program, don't fare well afterwards.  If they can't make a huge profit, they cut their losses.  That is why I will never place a dog with a program like that.  Never.  But I digress. 

Dog # 2 (shown here, left and right) is in a shelter over in the valley that we work with frequently.  He's a big, long-legged boy, whose former owner apparently went to jail.  He looks like a good prospect and one of our volunteers met him today and will be transporting him to me tomorrow. 

Dog #3 is a young girl, about 8 months, maybe slightly shepherdy, but not much.  She is, however, adorable and has a face that reminds me of a cross between our Molly and the late Jeremy. 

All four dogs who were placed last weekend sound like they are doing well.  Ginger is sweet and Ryland is occupying a sofa.  The puppy, Pongo, is already enrolled in a training class for January.  I just heard from Mercedes' new home and she has adjusted to the cats and has assumed responsibility for keeping track of everyone in the household, even making rounds to check on them all.  I'm not surprised about that from her. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lonely Solstice pup

Laila is at the clinic still; she should have surgery tomorrow to close the hole in her chest left by the abscess and she will be spayed at the same time.  I'm not sure if we'll get her back home Thursday afternoon or Friday, but even when she's back I know we'll need to keep her separated from rowdy Woody for a while.  I think our bathroom will become the second puppy place for Laila. 

Woody has the guest bathroom to himself for now, but he'd rather share it with someone.  I've been going in there frequently today to spend time with him, play with him, and hold him.  I can even bring him into the office and hold him while I work on the computer, which is where these pictures were taken.

His predicament reminds me of one of my favorite christmas songs, sung by Kyle from South Park.   While I'm on the subject and in the holiday mood, my other favorite christmas song is by Elton John from Billy Elliot:  Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Back to the vet

I went back to the vet today with Nero, who hadn't been back there since he first came in, back in October.  His skin and coat had improved somewhat, but his face is still pock marked and his tail is still ragged.  He is getting a new antibiotic, another round of prednisone, and a grain-free diet.  He will also be getting a cone to keep him from destroying his tail, which may need to amputated if we can't stop the chewing and get it healed up.  He will also be getting the shed at night because the cone may prevent him from using the doghouse and a-frame shelters in his kennel.  I've got to get him fixed up so he can be adopted.


I also took the puppies back to the vet today.  Woody is doing great.  He weighed in at 14 pounds today and he got a round of vaccines, parvo/distemper and bordatella.  Mostly I took them along because I wanted the vet to take a look at Laila.  She is acting normal, but I don't think she's putting on weight like she should be now that she's back to eating.  Sure enough, she weighed only 8 pounds today. 

One day last week Clay had noticed something on her chest that I was thought was a bit of matted hair.  They looked at that and quickly whisked her into the back of the clinic for a closer look.  It seems that what I thought was a clump of matted hair was probably an abscess that had now burst.  They removed dead skin, shaved it, and cleaned it up, but it will probably need to be closed surgically.  And of course she needs antibiotics again, daily changing of the bandage, and needs to be separated from Woody so that he won't remove the bandage for her. 

The result was that I left her at the vet's office for a few days.  Hopefully they will close the wound on Thursday and spay her at the same time, and I'll get her back on Thursday afternoon or Friday.  I'm glad I took her in.  I knew something wasn't right with her yet.  She was so very good with the vet and techs, very sweet, cooperative.  And she wasn't running a fever yet, so hopefully we are getting this addressed before it gets too far out of control. 

I was hoping to keep the two pups together for a couple more weeks, but maybe it is time to get Woody adopted and started on his new life.  Laila will need a little rest and recuperation, which will be difficult with Woody around anyway. 

Ginger, Ryland, and Pongo (Chance) are doing well in their new homes.  I need to contact the folks with Mercedes and check on her, but generally no news is good news.