Tag Archives: foster dogs

The Bzzzzzzzz . . . .

Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.
Jane Austen

To my friends and family who follow the blog and to my blog buddies, thank you for your patience. I am beginning a new work routine and the writing has suffered a tumble to the bottom of the list. Well, not the bottom, but it is hovering only slightly above the luxury of pedicures and the dismal chore of weeding flower beds.

The puppies have GROWN — immensely! They are beautiful and sweet, hilarious and entertaining. Charlie is a fluffy little angel, fairly relaxed, but playful. She’s also making her brothers look like little slobs, choosing the piddle pad over the tile floor. I’m so proud! Bravo, who you may recall was the delicate little man when I brought them home, is burly and strong, his rather short coat revealing a muscly body ready for play. He’s the most adventuresome of the trio — we’ve had to chase him out of our closets and he stands on the gate, shoving his tiny nose through to sniff at the larger dogs. Precious Alfa looks like a furry Yoda and has fallen behind the others in growth, making him only more adorable. He is by no means fragile, however, and loves to roll and tumble with his siblings, as well as the occasional shoe.

Duke had an extended play date with Princess Mocha, Sara’s lovely chocolate lab. I am sure he is now more spoiled than before, but, really, isn’t that what having pets is all about? Any dog behaviorists may keep your answers to yourselves 🙂 I do realize the importance of discipline and training for the well-being of both human and animal, but who doesn’t love a little spoiling in good measure?

Dylan has left for an extended stay in Colorado and all the dogs, but particularly Mike, took some time relaxing after the change. Mike had never become completely comfortable with Dylan and I imagine the poor fella was watching for Dylan’s reappearance at any moment — you know the way we humans (even Muggles!) apparate and disapparate on whim. So, Mike has been more wary and a tad more bark-y of late. I’m sure it will pass.

The last thing I’d like to share is this: if my stories touch you in any way, I beg you, please please please look for ways to help the animals of your communities. You don’t have to foster or adopt. You don’t have to donate money or walk dogs. You can. And I will say it’s a great feeling. I love it! It’s not always easy, but at the end of the day, I’m glad I jumped on board the crazy train. This morning, Cherry Blossom, Sara’s yoga studio, my “work” place, hosted a fundraiser for Friends of BARC (BARC is the shelter where I volunteer). We gathered donations (monetary and pet goods), had a small raffle and taught a special workshop, donating the funds to FoB. It was a blast. The outpouring of our yoga family was sincerely touching. We simply did what we could do. That’s all I’m asking. Again, it isn’t always about money (though that helps) and it isn’t all about time (though that’s nice) — it’s really about awareness. Something as simple as cross-posting a picture and story of an animal in need is a contribution. Your signature on a petition regulating (and, admittedly, I’m not a fan of a lot of regulation) puppy mills or some other act that protects our four-legged friends is a contribution. Lend your voice. It’s more powerful than you may know.

I will now relinquish my soap box and work on a new post . . . a post of puppies on the move!!

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High Anxiety

I woke this morning around 5am and couldn’t catch my breath. To my left, Kerry, my husband, slept soundly and still. To my right, the plastic shoe box wiggled with three puppies, one of whom whined the warning, “almost time to eat.” It’s kind of them, I think, to wake slowly, giving me a chance to heat the bottles. I realize it’s rather fantastic to think they have a sense of courtesy, but I’m the one whose heart is racing in the groggy, pre-dawn hours, so I can think what I like.
Shuffling across the cold, white tile to the kitchen, I breathe slowly and deeply, dismissing the odd bit of panic to focus on the task at hand. Alfa, Bravo and Charlie only have so much patience and I have to teach in a couple of hours. Returning to bed, I snuggle each puppy individually and offer the warm mix of formula and pumpkin — feeding has become quick and sweet now the pups’ motor skills have improved.
So, why the panic? What nagging subconscious thought came bubbling to the surface to dispel my dreams?
The blog, of late, has been mostly about progress made, about fuzzy-love moments of puppy breath, ounces gained and wobbly steps taken. But it hasn’t been all sunshine these last few weeks. A storm has been brewing and I realize, after a handful of days where weather has forced us inside more than usual, that some changes need to be made. I am feeling a sharp and forceful measure of both rock and hard place.
If you’ve been following the blog, you know there are seven dogs in the house: Bailey, Mick, Duke, Mike, Alfa, Bravo and Charlie. Granted, the ABC’s are tiny and not at all under foot. Their total combined weight is less than half that of a “real” dog, as Kerry would describe it (he is of the strong opinion real dogs weigh more than eleven pounds – less than that is a rat). Bailey and Mick are the “home dogs,” while Duke and Mike are fosters – these four are all grown and well under foot — often.
It’s not the presence of the dogs, however, that presents a problem. It’s becoming an issue of chemistry. When Duke first arrived, he presented the greatest threat to Mick’s sense of home ownership. Mick had taken his time learning to share his space with us and with Bailey (who is more than double his size, but a fairly gentle and patient soul), and, though he wasn’t thrilled with Mike’s presence, he accepted it. Molly, of course, had been so ill she’d gone unnoticed. But Duke seemed to set off something in the Basenji — some trigger. Mick exploded into furious little tirades at the sight of Duke, occasionally waiting for the big dog to pass before lunging and striking his back haunches.
Duke was relatively tolerant at first and seemed almost confused at the angry attention being paid him. He was much more interested in the toys and food, both of which he was inclined to protect and hoard, a habit which we noted and have tried to discourage. Duke is very easy-going fella, playful and extremely smart. As Mick’s behavior became more pesky and intrusive, Duke avoided him unless attacked, at which point, he would slap the little dog down, sometimes giving him a nip. Bailey picked up on the tension, her herding instincts shifting into gear, and began “moving” Mick away from Duke, pushing him with her chest and shouting the odd warning growl. “Don’t make me pull this car over,” she seems to say.
That was the first month or so. Over the last few weeks, while Mick wants to mother the puppies, he has become increasingly aggressive toward all the other dogs, snapping even at Bailey. A few days ago, when I’d slipped away to the kitchen for a midnight puppy feeding, he got sideways with Duke in my bedroom — one of the only places besides the back yard that had an air of neutrality — and started a fight. Kerry stopped them, but not before Duke had put a rather large hole in Mick’s neck.
Since then, Mick grumbles around the house, working himself to fever pitch with even a peripheral glimpse of Duke. He has snapped at Mike, leaving a mark on his chest, and no longer backs down when Bailey intervenes. The two-legged family members are on edge, as well, and I worry that Lily will be bitten should she attempt to stop a quarrel. Mike and Duke are ready for adoption. I realize that will ease the current situation, but then what? Are my fostering days to end because of Mick’s territorial and intractable nature? Is it fair to consider adopting Mick out to someone who will understand him — not test his patience? I want to do what’s right, fair and best, but is it possible to accomplish all three?
“Start by doing what is necessary. Then do what is possible. And suddenly you are doing the impossible.” St. Francis of Assissi

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