Thursday, June 23, 2011

Puppy Number Five Has a Good Day! (finally!)

WE HAVE PUPPY PLAY! Today was the first day that Puppy Five started to come around. He was hungry when he woke up, hungry enough to eat some dry dog kibbles. Then he ate some canned Newman's Organic dog food. Then he ate the cat's dry food. And it all stayed down!! And then on our morning walk we had piles instead of puddles. (Oh thank goodness!)
But the best news is that now he's getting some nutrition, he's got some energy and is a little less fragile, and he wants to play! I was so sad because he didn't really seem to know what toys are, or how to play with Teddy Bear, but it seems he was just recuperating from the whole ordeal of being stray, and being in a kill-shelter, and being transported, and moving into a new environment. Can you blame the poor little thing?
Now we'll see how his little personality develops, now that he's a in a safe place.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Min-Pin (not), aka Puppy Number Four

Our last foster (puppy number four) was a little black and brown girl from Tornado country in Oklahoma. I heard a rumor that some of the shelters were taking up to 300 dogs per day after the tornado/flood tragedies, some strays and some owner surrenders. Most times I can't justify an owner surrender, but after losing everything, sometimes people just can't keep up one more obligation, something has to give. And for that I am sorry. The only thing I could do was take in one lost pup.
She was so traumatized. Part of a litter of four, all of whom were trembling, little wrecks, she just wanted to spend the whole day in my lap. She cried if I left her alone. In fact, the first full day I had her, I had to go into the City, so I left her with Ian for the day. Apparently, she did nothing but cry and piddle (mostly on cloth or paper surfaces that were impossible to clean up,) leading Ian to refer to her as the Evil Little Rat Dog. We thought she was a miniature doberman pincer (minpin) so we called her Min-Pin, which is just more specific than Puppy. But then we found out she was a cross between a doxie and a whippet. So we just adjusted her name to Minna, in spite of my rule of not naming a foster pup.
I was so worried that she wouldn't find someone who would understand her special needs. There was a big guy at my gym who loved her, and she loved him (as much as she could.) But he works in an office that wouldn't be a good place for her, and he just couldn't figure out a good way to keep her. So in the meantime, I took her with me everywhere in a little quilted cloth bag over my the grocery, the liquor store, the dentist office...everywhere. And I worked at socializing her and potty training her, until at last she would accept being held and petted by strangers and even by a pack of small kids at my daughter's school playground.
She bonded hard to me, just like all of the four pups bonded to their foster moms. It turns out that one of her siblings was being kept by her foster parent, and the foster parent's sister in law wanted Minna, so they'll be able to see each other. Even better, the sister in law works at home, so Minna has a nice, quiet, permanent lap!
Although I am not really a miniature dog kind of person, I will miss little Minna because she loved me so much. I will think of her when I wake up, how she would stretch out on her belly and army crawl up the bed with her tail going back and forth slapping the comforter!

Teddy Bear (aka The Keeper)

Teddy's first day at home 11/24/10.
 Teddy Bear is our permanent rescue. He was sent to us by our last dog, Remy, when I was getting frustrated enough to just go buy a puppy at the store, Remy told me to wait. He said that everything would be OK in the morning. When I went to the vet's office to drop off a copy of Remy's rabies certificate, they said they just got a call from someone in West Orange who needed to find a home for a little, fluffy, white pup. So of course we went and got him. He was about four months old, weighed 23lbs, and was losing all of his puppy teeth.

He is not the easiest dog. When people ask what kind of dog he is, we say he is a barky dog. Actually, we think he is a soft-coated wheaton terrier mix. He now weighs about 50lbs. We had him shaved for the summer, and his groomer at Paw Palace said she clipped him to look like a Clydesdale, which he does! Everyone remarks on how cute he looks. What they don't know is how willful and stubborn he is. Such a handful! But then, I remember when Remy chewed the cable tv cord, my glasses, etc. and when Tyrone dug up my housemate's scarlet sage bed (4 times.)

He loves having a playmate, which is why we do the foster dog thing. It usually takes a day or two for each dog to settle in, and then Teddy knows it's time to PLAY! Here's Teddy with our first foster dog, Tatum.
The best playmate was Luci (aka Lucifer) who was an Aussie Shep mix, but they played so loudly together I'm sure my neighbors were relieved to see her move on to her forever home! We were seriously considering keeping her, but a lady who wanted two pups from the same little asked for Luci and her sister, and I couldn't deny her the lifelong company of her sibling.
Minna was also a good playmate for Teddy, but she found a perfect home, too, with someone who works at home and can let her sit in a lap all day long.

Teddy is the dog with the ear that sticks up. That's his trademark, whether he's long-haired like a sheepdog or shorn like a clydesdale.

Puppy Number Five Update

The little puppy boy is doing a bit better today. Yesterday he kept all his food down (although he lost his lunch today.) Unfortunately, it still all comes out liquid on the other end. I'm trying some meds from the vet though, so we'll see if that helps. He's a clever puppy, so I have to really work to hide the pill or he detects it and spits it out. Tonight he liked the organic cat food that I bought by accident thinking it was just a smaller can of dog food. Oops.
I'm learning a little more about his personality, too. He's much more reserved than any of the other pups I've fostered. He shies away from people when he is outside, as if people are to be considered dangerous. He walks with his head low and his tail down. It makes me sad to think that he might have been astray for a while, even though he's younger than four months old. But tonight, while I was reading in bed (A Dog's Purpose) he was laid out near my feet, belly up, with one front paw crossed over his chest and his back legs all splayed out, just as relaxed as he could be. When he is introduced to someone new, if they speak gently, he approaches and wags easily. Actually, he wags quite a bit as you can see.
He is a very good natured and gentle boy. He is unusually calm and quiet for a pup his age. I can't say that he is interested in the company of other dogs, because he doesn't really understand what it is to play. This is a source of constant frustration for Teddy Bear! He does like to run toward the cat, Butterscotch, but usually decides within a few feet that it's not a good plan and veers off in another direction. He did get close enough to sniff this morning, which Scotchy tolerated. He is also good with our 10-year-old daughter, Maggie, who loves to rub his belly when he is upside down.
Sometimes I try to imagine who will adopt my foster puppies, reasoning that if they don't provide a better environment than I do, then I should just keep them myself, which is a losing argument because every adoptive family has been the perfect situation in each case, so I have been happy to let them all go on their way. With this one, I think he would be a nice pet for a single person...someone who wants quiet company. He keeps to himself mostly, but responds nicely if you approach him. He likes to lay in bed with me, but not on me. He likes his own space. He is also very comfortable in his own crate. He's a good boy, for sure. It will be nice when he is a happy boy, too. He's just waiting for the perfect circumstance.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Previous Puppies, Puppy Number One

Tatum was our first foster puppy. She was a beagle-border collie mix and was full of energy. We only had her for less than a week, and there were two families who wanted her. She ended up with a nice family with lots of kids and other dogs in Colts Neck. Score big for the little cast off pup from Missouri!

Puppy Number Five

I try not to give my foster pups a name because I know the people who adopt will want to name their new pet, but everyone at the shop is calling this little guy Squirt...not because he's small and underdeveloped (even though he is) but because he's so malnourished that anything that goes in comes out liquid (from either end.) Poor little guy. Although I have to report that today he had a semi-solid poop. This is a big deal. And this morning he is enjoying scrambled eggs with beef broth. Teddy likes having a foster brother because he gets eggs, too!
Most of the puppies I've fostered have come around pretty quickly in terms of their health, particularly digestion. But this one is nothing but skin and bones. I wondered, as I watched him sleeping in his crate last night, how long he might have made it if we hadn't pulled him from the shelter. The reality is, he would have been put down before that eventuality. He is from the animal control center in Chesterfield, SC. That's the place where they took a bunch of the dogs across the street to the landfill for target practice. It stuns me how quickly humanity is slipping into barbarism. But that's another story.
He's a quiet little boy. He doesn't really know how to play yet, and didn't know what toys were when we went to Paw Palace yesterday. But he likes Teddy's antler and bone, and he looked like he might be interested in tug-o-war if Teddy didn't growl when he plays. But he's coming around, like they all do. It will be fun to see what he's like a week from now.
I won't really call him Squirt. He's Puppyboy, or Little Guy, or Pupster. Just something to get his attention. He's a friendly little dude, always with the tail wagging. And he has the most precious expression. I'm sure someone will fall for him just like I did.