Fostering Bella

Miss Bella. 

Christmas Eve saw Midnight’s departure with his new family. They had their hands full, and wanted to return him on Christmas Day. The wonderful adoption coordinator talked them off the ledge, and as I hear it (from the adopters), they’re totally smitten with him. That was a giant relief.

We had plans for New Years Eve that saw us staying the night in Inwood, WV, after a murder mystery dinner. Midnight was amazingly social, but a bit of wrecking ball, so we weren’t planning on taking a dog to Matt and Amanda’s, though they’ve never said no, strictly speaking. We didn’t want to risk having a dog that wouldn’t get along with Dexter, so we took a break for a week. I hated it.

We got that old familiar email…

In Buckeystown, MD: 

BELLA #4 has been waiting patiently for a foster opportunity. She’s a sweet and calm 7 year old. Needs to go to a quiet neighborhood as she’s not fond of bicycles. She is a snuggler and rides beautifully in the car. She also likes calm dogs. Not good with cats. Approved for kids 10 and up. Bella weighs 55 pounds.

Along with this sweet picture:

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So, Laura and I packed up and rode out to Buckeystown Vet to meet the foster coordinator. We met a very sweet chocolate lab, named Annie, who was meeting her potential new-parents. Its a bold move to “show” a pup at the kennel. Its super stressful for dogs to be in there, so, I hope that the adopters were ready for that! 

Anyhow, Bella came out with Silvia and she was a little scatter-brained, which is normal. It caught me off guard how NICE she was on a leash. After spending time with Midnight, who could pull a car, I’m convinced, she was… Dainty? I don’t know. 

Another interesting tidbit is that apparently Bella had some some service work at a prison. I don’t know what capacity she filled, but even if its just for comfort, she’s so sweet. 

We took Bella home that day, and were immediately concerned, as her hair is SO SOFT that we figured she’d shed quite a bit. I think half a dog came off of her in that first bath, and I can’t really overstate how soft this dog is. She was really super cool. She was an owner give up, for chasing a cyclist… Which, I don’t super understand, but, to each their own. We had a very quiet first week with her. We introduced her to dog beds, and, she did the Post-Kennel-Amazingly-Relaxed-Sleep in that dog bed. I need to come up with a better word for that. Just-obtained-temporary-alternative-residence-until-longterm-adoption? JOTARUL. I like that. Turns out Bella was a serious, serious window watcher, so she’d pick her head up, look around, and sigh, and fall back to sleep. 

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We tried to get her to hop into our bed, because, as I previously mentioned, the SOFTNESS. She wouldn’t do it! 

There was extra applicant screening with her. We knew (from past reports and personal experience) that she wasn’t good with younger dogs. She isn’t interested in playing. She did fine with my in-laws dog, they almost cuddled.

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So we had an applicant come through, after the reports that Bella and Bailey had done so well together. The folks were nice enough, and brought their 10-11 year old lab. He was pretty nice on his own. I got a text from this person (after they showed up 30 minutes late)…

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Well, in case anyone wasn’t aware, most dogs sniff noses and butts. Well, Bella and this guy didn’t see eye to eye at first meeting, so we decided to take them for a walk. They actually did really well on the walk, and when we went back inside we all relaxed a little bit. Just at the point where our guard was down, the potential adopters dog basically lunged towards Bella, and left a tooth mark just below her eye. Off to the vet we go! Two stitches 🙁

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Bella healed up really nicely. I formed an opinion that, even though she did ok with Bailey, she would be best as a quiet couples “only child”, including dogs and children. I was away from home for Snow-Apocalypse-Mageddon 2016 (30 inches in 24 hours or something?) and Bella romped around the snow and had a grand time. We received a call that there was a couple from Delaware that was very interested in Bella, and wanted to come see her on Sunday. 

When they arrive, the “dad” is immediately smitten with Bella. I love it when potential adopters come in the door, and flop on the floor. This guy is going to treat her like a princess. Makes this whole process very easy 🙂 

More pics after the jump, of course. And a video!! We’re “off” from fostering for a bit while I go to Katsucon and MagFest. We’ll get another one right away!

Fostering Midnight

After Gizmo left, it became pretty aggressively clear that I can’t be alone in a house with no dog. I emailed our contact at Lab Rescue, and i got this back:

Hi, Jesse. I have a gorgeous black boy ready for you at Towson. His name is Midnight. 18 months old, 65 pounds, and got neutered on 12/1. He’s ready to go. He’ll be announced tomorrow and I can send you his profile, but he’s good with other dogs. Could you get him tomorrow? Thanks so much. Yes, I can take the cone on Sunday. Thank you!<

So I head over to Towson Veterinary hospital, leash in hand, and say “I’m here for Midnight”. There is no fanfare (like with Gizmo) and no warnings or anything, just a few moments later, a wild bucking bronco appears in the waiting room, choking himself on my leash which has been used as a slip lead. For about 20 seconds, I try to put the harness on him, before giving up, as a totally useless pursuit. The hapless vet tech looks at me struggling and says “do you want a collar or something” and i’m like “yes, please, for gods sake”. So we get a collar, and i wrestle him into the car, and its all good. In addition to several other things, I learned that I can’t make it to Towson and back in a lunch break.

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Got him home and he was obviously very strong, and not trained well. He’d sit if you had his full attention, though! Additionally, he was house-trained, in that he didn’t 1 or 2 in the house. Midnight was a special boy, very playful, exceptionally cuddly. He had tape on his tail, because he has “Happy Tail”, and believe me, if you caught a tail wag, it hurt!

Its important to note (and I’m not certain that I have elsewhere) that we don’t really get much history on these dogs. The intake form for Midnight said basically that he lived outside, or in the crate. I find the latter claim dubious (at best). Midnight had puppy energy, and separation anxiety (for sure). Thanks to the holidays, we didn’t really get a chance to “train” him for either the crate or out of separation anxiety, which made it so that we essentially couldn’t leave him alone. He was really great, though, and super cute. I don’t know why people think 18 month old dogs are couch potatoes. I’ll go on record as saying that they settle down around 3-5 and some NEVER slow down, especially without properly being trained.

We had a couple interested in Midnight the second night we had him. They were interested in another dog to help their dog “stay young”. This dog, a 12 year old husky, was not really SUPER interested, so, away they went. Another couple came, allegedly they were dog walkers and dog sitters, and had a 12 year old chihuahua. The 12 year old chihuahua didn’t like Midnight, which is like, the most “no shit!” thing that has ever been written on this blog, but for dog walkers, dog sitters, etc, these people were REALLY unprepared for a 1.5 year old dog. Like, to the point that the husband had the chihuahua in his arms and was jumping back, almost scared of Midnight.

A week came and went with no hits, and then the flood gates opened, and we got 3 hits in 24 hours. Some folks with 2 other dogs called us, and we set up the hot date, and they met and went home with him. He loves playing with their 3 year old Chocolate lab, and they’re working with a dog behavior specialist to figure him out around cats, and to calm him down. Happy endings 🙂 More pics after the jump.

Continue reading Fostering Midnight

Another transport

I did another transport yesterday. It is really a great experience… If you have a car and a half a tank of gas, you should try! 

I met a dog, Ryder, who basically wanted to be AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to me. He was absolutely adorable!

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Additionally, I actually transported a Tibetan Mastiff (maybe.. who knows) named Kobu. This dog looked like a lion, and his head was ridiculously massive. He absolutely could NOT understand how to lay down on my back seat. In the picture below, he had it sorted, but he spent an hour writhing around and falling off the seat. It was hilarious and pathetic.

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Anyhow, if you’d like to get involved, let me know. We can always use more drivers!

Dogs XL / Rescue Road Warriors – First Trip

So, just this past Sunday evening, I took a trip to Harrisburg, PA to transport some dogs from the Rescue Road Warriors team to the Dogs XL Rescue. I picked up two passengers, Abby the Belgian Malinois (P17) and Mattix the fox-red Golden Retriever (P15). That may have been Mattix, Maddox, Maticks, or Mattox. I’m not sure. 

To follow the chronology of these dogs was simply staggering. The RRW team has an email chain that goes out coordinating the whole deal, which is 45 (!) pages long. My passengers started in Springfield, Missouri, and on Saturday alone, drove all the way to Columbus, Ohio. They stayed the night at some other volunteer’s houses, and hit the road in the morning, drove all day, and met up with me in Harrisburg, PA. Just for fun, I snapped some pictures. I had a great time, Abby loved the front seat, and Mattix was exhausted, so he slept in the back. It’s worth noting that most of the drive is on one road (Interstate 83), back to Baltimore, so these guys, certainly exhausted from two full days of traveling, slept most of the way. Notable moments were when Abby fell asleep on my gear shifter, and when she fell asleep the wrong way on my armrest. She was adorable.

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I could have taken either one of them home. Abby’s hair was total fluff, though, and I think I’m going to take a leaf blower to my car this evening, or no one will be able to ride in the car ever again. 

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