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

Fostering Gizmo

I received an email on November 11 from the foster coordinator of Lab Rescue LRCP about Gizmo, a 5 year old black lab male who was freaking out in the Vet in Towson. Laura and I were slated to watch Doogie and Marley (see their post below) from December 5-15, so we were apprehensive, but my conscience got the best of me, and I told Laura that if we had to have three dogs, darn it, we have to have three dogs.

The report from the temporary foster said that he was amazing. Here’s some pictures.

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We showed up at the Towson Vet on Friday, November 13, 2015 (ooo Friday the 13th, 2spooky), and after petting a deaf / blind dog of some kind (which, if you know me, dogs that are infirm, senior, or disabled basically are my kryptonite) the Vet came out to talk to us. Now, I appreciate the curt, forward nature of an older, grizzled vet, but this guy took it a bit far. He calls out the window “What fool takes Gizmo?” And Laura and I look at each other and say “Us?”

He goes on to tell us about how Gizmo won’t let anyone touch him, and any time that they have to do anything to him, they have to sedate him. That when they approached him, he’d growl, and basically was mean as hell. Now we’re scared. He’d been neutered just 4 days prior, and because they had to sedate him to give him ear medicine, they had been giving him weekly medicine to cure up his ear infections. They told us to make an appointment to bring him back in, in a week, to have the medication put in his ears.

So we say, alright, whatever. We can handle this, mostly because the the Lab Rescue folks said he was awesome in his temporary foster’s care, and that the vet was stressing him out. He bounces out of the vet’s back room, cone on and everything. Usually this is a pretty tense moment, and this was no different… Waiting room with 2 other dogs, and a wild man coming out.

Once in the car, we began to question if they gave us the wrong dog. It because clear very quickly that this dog wanted to be in your lap. The first 24 hours were ridiculous because this dog had no idea that he had a cone on, which he proceeded to knock on everything in the house. I told Laura that he had it on for a reason, and that first night, he kept the cone on. It was pathetic, for sure. We decided, collectively (ok, it was mostly Laura), that the cone had to go, and that surely, the reason the cone was on was because the vet couldn’t handle Gizmo. Turns out, she was spot on, and he barely paid attention to his incision. He had a lot of swelling “down there” from what he could reach, but it got better.

He putzed around with me all day while I worked. It was very interesting, because he peed a lot, and I speculate that he’ll be diabetic… But we’ll see. If he wanted to play, and perceived that he was being ignored, he’d sing you the song of his people. Check the video.

I took him to Westminster Mall with me, and he was great. What a smart little guy. If he was singing and you told him to go get a toy, he would go upstairs and find one for you. Neat stuff.

A couple came to see him on Tuesday (November 24, 2 days before Thanksgiving), and asked an awful lot of questions. I could tell that they were very unsure of adopting Gizmo, which was weird. He is really super cool. They left without him that night, and even asked me if they could come back to get him on Saturday. I guess they didn’t want him for the holiday or something like that. I told them that as soon as they left, the dog was technically “Available”. I always tell folks that we advocate for the dogs, and that their chance is when they come to see the dog. Its one of the necessary evils of rescue. Another couple called me on Wednesday (November 25) and arranged a meeting on Friday (November 27). They came, with their golden retriever, and took him home that night.

Laura had to deliver Gizmo’s ear medicine to the adopter’s house (since we forgot it at the in-laws during turkey day), and she stayed to help put the ear medicine in one last time. She said he fit right in, and was doing great with the resident golden. I guess this one has a happy ending! I sure will miss him.

There is something to be said about emotional attachment and fostering. The first dogs we fostered (Doogie and Marley) were easy to let go, since there were obviously two of them (and we want one), and we had our guard up. Doogie and Marley were also crate trained, so they didn’t sleep near us at night. Gizmo was literally in our bed. I feel like the “guard up” thing hit us most of all, simply because after they left, and we got our next pup, we basically thought we were seasoned pros, and that is just not the case!

December 18, 2015 edit: Here are some more pictures (after the jump). I probably should have kept this dude. He was really great, except the whining. Sometime around, oh, I don’t know, “Gizmo’s arrival” we decided that all sorts of rules were dumb and let him on the couch, in the bed, it was crazy. More pics from jump.

Continue reading Fostering Gizmo

Fostering Doogie and Marley

 

I received an email on Friday, 10/17/2015, about a bonded pair of pups that needed a foster. They were called “DOOGIE/MO” and “MARLEY” in the system. I have a giant crate, but we needed another so I ran out and bought another. We expected the boys on 10/19, but they were apparently stricken with kennel cough, so they had to stay at Towson Veterinary Hospital for a few more days. 

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To say these dudes were cute is an understatement. Laura and I are not really into having two dogs, long term, so we’ve not really experienced with “brothers” or a bonded pair at all. It is amazing to watch their codependence. I told you I bought the other crate, well these kids didn’t need it. Marley (the chocolate lab) would actually cry and bark if he was separated into a different crate than Doogie. It was really something. 

When we received the transport of these boys, they smelled like kennel… Really badly. So Dave and I took them to Dogma in Canton, because I like lifted tubs, and warm water, and I’ll pay for the  privilege of not freezing my butt off bathing two dogs in the cold. They got back to our place and crashed HARD for about 2 days. So sleepy.

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They were pretty cool. Marley could do this thing where he was so flexible and long-legged that he could scratch his head with his back legs without sitting down. It was awesome.

Eight days after they got here, we were in a groove, and they were keeping me company during the day, we’d take a walk during lunch, and chew antlers and whatnot. We got a call that there were some folks interested in Doogie and Marley. They had two dogs before, so it sounded like a great fit. We invited them to come meet the boys (10/29/2015), and they seemed smitten immediately. Its a good sign when someone sits on the floor instead of the couch (thats my move, usually). They did go home with the pups. 

I received a call at 9:30AM from the adoption coordinator that the boys had run before they were able to make it into the house, so I went up and looked for a couple hours. I left the crate there, with the blankets they’d used. The people were super frazzled. Thursday night they left, and they were found on Saturday, October 31, five miles away, by two nice guys. They called the boys over and they hopped right in the truck.

Update 11/30: The adopters have returned the boys. We had Gizmo, so we could not take them back immediately, so they were at Towson Vet for a few days, but they’re back, and Marley is so very skinny. I’ve been giving him two cookies and Doogie just one cookie. Don’t tell him. Truth be told, I considered keeping them. They really are two of the sweetest pups. Some folks came on 12/5 to meet them, and were under the impression that they were taking them home. Laura and I were happy to see how they interacted with the boys… They brought them Christmas collars, with engraved name tags. It was much harder to let them go this time… But I think they’ve found their home.

Real talk though, if they get returned again, they aren’t leaving my side.