Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday without the heat

Maya and Nora
It was actually cool when I first went outside with dogs early Sunday morning. The sky was clear blue, no humidity. I should have immediately headed out to the trails instead of waiting until late morning like I did, but it was still pretty decent. I did about three miles with Maya and Nora, followed by four miles with Maya and TJ. When we got back home from the second hike, I went out to the pasture with Nora, Max, Theo, Trooper, Gigi. A good time was had by all.
This was Nora's first hike, but she did
very well.


TJ has re-grown all his fur and he's put on a good amount of
weight. He looks really good now and is a much darker color
than he was. Who knows what his winter coat will look like.
Four miles was about one too many for TJ.
I should have gotten him out early in the day
when it was cool. But he held up well.

Maya in the creek. The river was up and running high and muddy, but the creeks and streams
around here were not. It seems that most of the rain fell upstream. We got very little.

Nora chasing Theo, who was playing ball.

She's actually quite fast, but she had no real interest in the ball.

Gigi mostly hung out in the shade, it was too warm for her
to do much running.
This is a picture of Theo from the rear, but this dog
has such nice lines he looks good from any angle.

Sparky had a nice roll in the grass and he
bounced around a little bit, just happy to be out.
He was even happier to come back inside.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Axel's road to recovery

The HOWS Project is a group I've worked with before. I don't actually help them with the work that they do, but I've taken in a few dogs that have been surrendered to them, including TJ who is now ours. They needed a temporary foster for a client's dog who had been attacked by another dog. He had a bad ear infection and an infected wound on his face, but both seem to healing up nicely. That's how Axel came to be here.

Axel is just here for a week or so while he heals and then for a few more days after he gets neutered. Because he's an unneutered male I didn't think TJ would much care for him and at the very least it would start a literal pissing match in the house. So Axel is occupying Sparky's old kennel and shed during the day and then I bring him up to a crate in my office at night.

It was his first time going up and down stairs, but he did it with just a little encouragement. It was probably his first time in a house and first time being crated. I walked him through the house on a leash and didn't give him a chance to mark anything, but he went into the crate and settled down last night with no problem.

I have been crating Nora next to him at night and keeping her with him at least part of the time during the day as well. He likes her, a lot, and who can blame him. Axel will be going back to his home when he's recovered, which may not be ideal, but at least he will be healthy and neutered, and his owners know enough to reach out to HOWS for help when they need it. He's a very sweet boy.

If anyone wants to throw a few bucks their way, I know that HOWS can use it and will use for good works, including Axel. Here's a link to their donation page:

Friday, July 28, 2017

One from the Way Back Machine

The year was 2003, or thereabouts. I had been fostering dogs for about three years, mostly with Animal Connections. In those days we got most of our dogs from the Louisa County shelter and we spent most Saturdays on the sidewalk in front of Harris Teeter at Barracks Road shopping center.

I had a dog named King, a very solid and handsome dog who had the markings of a Swiss Mountain Dog so we were telling folks he was a mix thereof (you take your best guess in rescue and never make any promises concerning breed).

I was at an adoption event with Karin Straley outside Harris Teeter when a woman came by and recognized King. She said that she had given him up to the shelter and now she wanted him back. She proceeded to tell me some long ridiculous lie about how the shelter people had told her that they would find a foster home for the dog and she could get him back any time she wanted. That was obviously bullshit and I had to wonder if I looked dumb enough that she thought I would believe it. She had two or three kids with her and told me how much the kids loved the dog and missed him, blah, blah, blah. I told her that she could fill out an application if she wanted to do so although I was thinking to myself that there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that I'd ever give her that dog.

Even if I had been considering it, the dog's reaction made my decision very easy. When the woman and her kids approached the King's crate, instead of being happy to see them, he turned his back to them, and laid down in the back of the crate with his back to them, clearly communicating that he wanted nothing to do with them.

I don't know if it was that same day or at another adoption event, but I met a nice young couple fresh out of the Peace Corps who had recently relocated to the Charlottesville area. I liked them. I admire anyone who makes a commitment to helping others; I think it says a lot about them and I adopted King to them.

This evening I received an email from them letting me know that King, renamed Nileke, had just recently died.  This is their letter:

You probably don't remember us, but we adopted King (we changed his name to Nileke) from you in 2003, if I remember the year correctly.  We were the couple who had just gotten back from the Peace Corps and were so broke that we had to give you the $90 adoption fee a few months after we took him home with us.
I wanted to let you know that Nileke passed away this week of kidney failure.  More importantly, I wanted you to know that he had a wonderful life, and all of us owe you a debt of gratitude for fostering him and ultimately getting him into our home.
He lived with us in Barbourvsille, VA for about 5 years, and then we all moved out to Colorado.  We ultimately got Nileke a brother and sister (both rescue dogs), and we wound up having two daughters of our own.  Nileke patrolled our acre of land in the mountains at 8600 feet elevation, ran around in the snow like a lunatic, and always watched out for the family.  We eventually moved down into Boulder, Colorado, and he had a great yard to play in and was able to see our girls grow up (now 5 and 7 years old).  Over the course of his life, he has been climbing with us in Virginia, West Virginia, and Colorado; gone to the ocean during summers in Delaware and North Carolina; travelled cross country with the family; and taken part in every major milestone of our family.  He was my best friend, and he was loved by the whole family.
Even though I am writing with sad news, I hope that the fact that he had such a good life  brings you a smile.  Thank you for the work that you do with dogs, and know that it makes a difference.

I didn't remember their names or their story until reminded by the email, but I had never forgotten King, and in fact I had been thinking about him recently. I am my own harshest critic in many ways, but one thing I like to think I've gotten pretty good at is judging people as dog adopters. I patted myself on the back this evening, because I had obviously made a good choice for King in this case.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Nora, the nicest dog you may never meet

Her name is Nora and she's my most recent Green Dogs foster. She's about 8-9 months old, pure bred, female, tri-color Saint Bernard. She's smallish, maybe was the runt of her litter. She's had some obedience training as a puppy, and she's lived indoors with love and good care, so this is not a damaged dog by any means. 

The reason that I say you may never meet her is that I don't expect her to be around very long as a foster. We are meeting potential adopters and their Saint on Friday evening and I can't imagine that they won't love her. She gets spayed on Monday. Sometime between then we'll do a cat test. She's very pretty and not so drooly from what I've seen so far. She came in the house and met the pack with no problems at all. She's housetrained and crate trained, but she is still a puppy. She's very sweet and very pretty.  

Monday, July 24, 2017

Welcome home

I got home Sunday morning rather than Saturday evening because I can't fly anywhere without causing a major disruption in the atmosphere and air traffic. Nevertheless, I had a great time with my family in Montana and will be posting some pictures from the trip when I get things back to normal around here.
Trooper and Sparky

I received a great welcome by the dogs, but especially by Maya. I think she was genuinely worried about me all the time I was gone.

Tomorrow, incoming fosters! Stay tuned.

I think that even Max was glad to see me.
Maya with her head on Gigi, both girls as close
to me as possible.
Maya next to me and Trooper on the floor
Gigi is very dignified and reserved, but she was
happy to see me again too. 
New collar bling! to be distributed among the dogs in the
next few weeks.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Running out the clock

We leave for Montana on Wednesday. I'm trying to get perishable food consumed, the house in order, and the yard work done before we go. It's actually been a little less hectic than some travel preparation experiences, mainly because it's been hot and dry which has minimized the grass growing and given me plenty of opportunities to get ahead of it.

Having just eight dogs has helped too. Feeding time is a breeze and everyone knows and follows the routine. Most of the dogs will be staying at home with the house sitter. Everyone has been treated for fleas and ticks since I discovered about 20 of them on my legs after a hike one day last week.

I've been hiking most days, but only about three to four miles at a time. We did four miles this evening but that was really about two miles too far for the husky. He really likes to go, but I think he's going to be taking it easy until sometime in September. July and August are just too hot for a husky in Virginia, especially one who is 12 years old.

TJ's new coat has grown in nicely. He's much darker now.
It would have been nice if he had kept the short hair until fall.

We visited here on Sunday. It's a log cabin owned by the
Fluvanna Historical Society and it was open for the day.
The simplicity is appealing, but I think it would be hard to
share this amount of space with another person. Also, I'd
cut a hole in the wall and put in a window unit air conditioner.

We saw this guy on the trail on today's hike. We surprised
a deer too, but didn't get a picture of that.
Most of my dogs are short distance walkers:
TJ, Trooper, Gigi, and Sparky. Even Max
tends to exhaust himself by pulling too much
and then not being able to go the distance.
It's going to be just Maya and Theo for any
walk more than two miles until cooler
weather hits again this fall.

The big oak tree at Pleasant Grove, in all its summer glory.