Tag Archives: FOSTER

Bravo is the New Alfa

Well, if there’s one thing we can always count on, it’s change, right? Of course I don’t mean the kind of change that jingles in your pocket. I mean the “things don’t stay the same” kind — the don’t blink or you’ll miss it kind.

Tomorrow marks the third (only the third) week since the puppies came home with me. They have since opened their eyes, found their tiny voices, begun to cut teeth and started walking or, more accurately, staggering like rummies. Alfa, the biggest pup upon arrival, is now the smallest at one pound, one ounce. Bravo weighs a pound and four ounces and baby sister, Charlie, registers one pound, three ounces according to the scale this morning. They have begun to play a bit after feedings, awkwardly tumbling over one another and mouthing each other’s ears and snouts. Alfa vocalizes with a bird-like growl and yip when vexed, while Bravo is a quiet soul. Charlie seems to have the best motor control at this point, though all the pups look a bit like Bambi on ice when they stumble off the piddle pad onto the polished wood floor.

Time has offered other rewards, as well. I am down to only one extra load of laundry per day, as the babies move from true infancy, no longer soiling their bedding at what seemed like five minute intervals. If I feed the littles around midnight, I get to sleep until four, which is only an hour and a half before the first alarms start to sound for the rest of the house. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

Bravo and Alfa in nap mode

 

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Gallery IV

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Another Day in the Dog House

Ah, where to begin . . .

It’s been a very busy week around the dog house. The puppies have grown SO much, their eyes are now open and they can no longer be trusted to stay in their nest. Alfa is tipping the scales at a hefty 264 grams and little Charlie’s not far behind at 260 grams. Bravo seems the steady gainer at 256 grams. As I said, all eyes are open – the milky baby blue that will likely turn to some shade of brown – and after hours of googling puppy pics, I can say the tinies look a bit like the “designer” dog Ratshire Chihuahua. Yes, there are people who breed and sell puppies that take the Rat Terrier/Yorkshire Terrier mix and add in a dash of Chihuahua. The dogs are adorable, but I am currently constructing a soap box from which to rant about the foolishness of such breedings. When I was a kid, there were pure breeds and mutts and you could find both at the local shelter. The same is true today.

Mick, our Basenji, still struggles to accept the presence of the two adult fosters, Mike and Duke, but shows an odd tenderness to the babies, issuing a warning growl to the other dogs when they draw too close at bottle feedings. The scrappy little fellow has picked fights with massive Duke, but gently cleans the little ones, enjoying the warm, sweet mix of milk and pumpkin that spills from the corners of their mouths (at some point, I’ll create a page on my neonatal experience, explaining the pumpkin, but suffice it to say, the pumpkin was a lifesaver).

Bailey and Duke show little interest in the puppies and, unfortunately, Mike is indiscriminate in his taste and I have to keep all the soiled bedding well out of reach. To switch gears a bit, however, Mike is showing loads of progress in his fearfulness. Though he seems to meet Dylan, my teenager, with new eyes every day, he has finally allowed Dylan to approach and will, on occasion, lick his hand and accept a scratch behind the ears. Duke is still the showboat. He will need a very smart owner. Last night, I gathered all the toys (which Duke loves to hoard) and placed them in a little lidded basket I keep by the back door for pet supplies. I’ve done it before, but not in his presence. I wanted them out of the way so I could vacuum. In a moment of distraction commonly described as ADHD, I began unloading the dishwasher and making a cup of tea rather than sticking to the task at hand. As I stood at the counter, cradling my warm mug and enjoying the waft of rooibos, fruit and vanilla spice, I spied Duke lurking in the shadow of the pool table. Slinking around a table leg, he craned his neck to the right to locate me and, apparently not realizing I can see, tip-toed Scooby Doo-style to the basket where he gently nosed the lid, discovering he could retrieve his toys. He made trip after trip to the basket, removing one toy at a time, hiding each under the pool table and finding, to his delight, a NEW toy, a plush I’d stored because Mike enjoys nothing more than disemboweling stuffies. Once again, I am astounded at Duke’s genius and determination. His problem-solving ability is such a pleasure to watch and I know I will miss his antics.

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Pup-date

Now that the kitchen scale is up and running, we have new stats on the tinies:

Alfa weighs in at a whopping 222 grams, approximately .49 pounds — don’t mess with him or he’ll sit on you. Bravo is the smallest at 208 grams (about .45 pounds), but has doubled his weight from Saturday, so we’re pleased. Miss Charlie lands somewhere in the middle of her brothers, weighing 214 grams, or about .47 pounds. The darlings had an outing today: first, to the yoga studio and then on some errands, including FreeBirds, Target and Petsmart . . . . no one ever asks what’s in the shoebox! It’s AWESOME!

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Gallery III: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie

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Gallery II

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Nature’s Miracle: Forgiveness

I haven’t had a lot of time to write lately. It’s the same excuse most of us have at the start of Winter: the Holidays. It couldn’t possibly be the two extra dogs in the house, who, in their first two or three weeks with us, were too shelter-shocked to do much more than sleep and eat, but, of late, have taken to mad romps across sofa, stairs and pool table (yes, Duke has been found standing on the pool table of a morning, surveying his territory).

However, before I take off for a day of galavanting (read: running errands), I have this thought:

If dogs have taught me anything, it’s that love is often measured in ounces of forgiveness (and Nature’s Miracle, the stain and odor remover)

I realize my audience may respond with a collective, “duh,” about the correlation between love and forgiveness, but how often are we truly struck with that correlation? Because, when I was hosing down floor, pet gate, dogs and toys this morning after an altercation over most-beloved-purple-Kong-Wubba that led to micturition — of the voluminous sort, subsequently tracked about in the melee — I found myself chuckling, petting heads and soothing hurt feelings, rather than scolding and shooing pups out the back door.  I have lost count of how much Nature’s Miracle and hydrogen peroxide we’ve used over the last month, while the ratio of pounds of dog food to pounds of dog poop has become the subject of side bets, math problems and good humor. That the myriad of inconveniences involved in fostering has become joke fodder is evidence of the miracle of forgiveness extended by and to all members of my household, two- and four-legged alike. We are awash in forgiveness.

 

This post brought to you by “Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover: permanently eliminates all stains & odors – even urine odors other products fail to remove. Guaranteed or your money back!” Available in a convenient one gallon refill.

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