Our dogs are experts when it comes to fostering puppies. They welcome them with open paws and are happy to show them the ropes. Our fosters learn lots of helpful things by following their example like potty training; crate training; how to sit, wait, and come; how to share; and most importantly – how to sleep through the night! But there are a few tricks our boys might keep to themselves.
Jackson is the OG. At nearly 15, he quietly administers his private lessons of “don’t mess with the old dog.” There are no growls or snarls involved. He just stares at them, and they get the message. All our foster puppies adore him but know better than to mess with him. Good lesson…well delivered.
Yogi is now eight…I can’t believe it. For many years, he was the foster puppy playmate and self-appointed supervisor. He is very patient and extremely tolerant to a point, issuing kind but firm corrections when needed. He is the first to comfort sick or recovering pups and they all look up to him.
All good…except Yogi is a world-class counter surfer. And puppy see; puppy do. Pretty much any puppy that can reach counters has to unlearn this when they go home. With apologies to their adopters.
Skye – now three – has taken over as the primary puppy playmate. He’s happy to meet everyone and immediately engages the new arrivals in play. It’s great for their socialization and confidence, but Skye sometimes regrets the monsters he unleashes. Skye seriously miscalculates by forgetting three things: 1) puppies have dagger teeth; 2) puppies grow bigger and stronger; and 3) puppies have four times his stamina.
While Yogi is bigger and better able to correct with authority – the puppies just won’t take Skye seriously. They figure turnaround is fair play and he is their play toy. Our four- to five-month-olds are almost as big as Skye who comes screaming for mom when the roughhousing gets too ruff!
Every single puppy in our home learns to get on the furniture. That’s my fault and I proudly own it. These kids have been bounced around. They need comfort, security, and love. Yes…I too contribute to the delinquency of our minors.
Yesterday was our Milo’s going home day. This giant puppy arrived at 15 weeks with ear infections and double entropion – a condition that causes the eyelids to grow inward causing the eyelashes to poke the eye. He goes home following surgery with his eyes now wide open and a clean bill of health
– FINALLY (hopefully) potty trained and ready for adventures.
Of course, on my way home from Milo’s adoption, I got the call that another puppy needed our home for a bit. I turned around and picked him up. Yes…he’s already on the couch. That’s just how we roll around here.
Before I disappeared for nearly a year, I wrote about our foster Ahsoka. The darling Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenees pup is now the giant Lucy who lives a spoiled and happy life with her mom, Susan. Lucy comes back to visit occasionally and has regular play dates with our foster puppies and their shared companion – Skye, our two-year-old boy.
Susan joined our puppy foster team last February by volunteering to foster an entire litter of German Shepherd puppies and their momma, Annie. She is an excellent puppy mama.
In my absence, I did not chronicle this year’s foster puppies. That weighs on me. I love remembering them here. So let’s catch up.
Roxy’s backyard breeder has decided to take advantage of our location. A posted sign offering Golden Retriever puppies has been permanently affixed near our rescue and he routinely sells puppies out of the back of his truck. The man that purchased her made an impulse buy and then surrendered her to us a couple of weeks later. It seems the family was not on board. His English was limited; all he wrote on the surrender contract was “I love her.” It was easy to understand why.
This incredibly gentle girl, now named Indy, found her home with a great family and four young children.
Hank was purchased from a backyard breeder and surrendered shortly after. This giant puppy, nicknamed Hank the Tank, was overwhelming the family cats and small dog with his puppy exuberance and strength.
He found the perfect home with an active couple living at the lake and in the snow. His giant head and drooping eyes have finally grown into his massive body but along with his rapid growth came a devastating diagnosis of cancer – rare at such a young age.
Thankfully, his devoted parents are seeing him through. After surgery and radiation, he is on the home stretch of chemo treatment with a positive prognosis. Paws crossed. He is in my prayers daily.
Mickey was found stray at three months of age traveling with an unrelated Golden. The shelter sent a photo and said he was a Doodle. Note to self: always ask for a photo to scale. Not that I regret the masquerade for one minute!
Affectionate and starved for people attention, this little Terrier mix was not our typical foster, but the golden heart of his traveling companion definitely wore off on him. He fit right in with our pack until he found his forever home with a mom who is always by his side.
Comet came to stay with us to recover from desperately needed FHO (femoral head ostectomy) surgery – something we had been through with our own boy, Skye.
He was in a very big hurry to run, jump and play but first he needed to rebuild muscle through swimming, gradual exercise, and, eventually, controlled play with our dogs. When he started doing zoomie circles in his pen at 5:30 in the morning, we knew he was ready for home.
He is living his best life with his new family at the lake where he puts all those swimming exercises to regular use.
“No one wants that puppy. Give me a hundred bucks and get her out of here.” Found sitting in a crate in her own filth at a puppy mill in the Midwest, Willow was five months old and not destined for good things. The Good Samaritan that found her drove her across the country to California. Willow was completely shut down – frozen at human touch. The woman, realizing she was in over her head, surrendered her to us. I carried her off the transport, into my car, and into our home where she was greeted by our three Goldens. It was exactly what she needed. Within a couple of days, all that fear vanished.
We quickly learned why “no one wants that puppy.” Willow has epilepsy. A low dose of medication has kept the seizures at bay, and she found the perfect home with a woman whose own mother also had seizures. She could not be more loved.
Harley arrived with a heart condition: SAS (subvalvular aortic stenosis) with a serious grade. But you would never know it by the way he runs and plays.
Clinical studies show that the invasive surgery some recommend has no impact on a dog’s long-term outcome. Instead, he will be on a beta-blocker for life. How long will his life be? No one knows. Like those athletes you hear about, his heart may just stop someday. Or – like some dogs we have known – he could live to be 10 with good quality care. The most important thing is a life well-lived, full of fun, adventures, and love. We found that for him.
Mini-Murphy was part of an “unplanned litter” between a Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever/Poodle) and Labradoodle (Labrador Retriever/Poodle). People…there is nothing “unplanned” about an unspayed female dog and an unneutered male dog living together. He was purchased by an older couple (the husband was 81) who quickly realized their decision to bring home a puppy had been directed by their hearts, not their heads. They stated that Murphy is a smart puppy with a good temperament…does normal puppy things…and is delightful and deserves a family that can physically interact with him…”he is the epitome of a joyful, bright, and totally loveable puppy.” They were right about that.
He lives with two active children so they can all get their zoomies out together.
Milo, my foster shadow, was purchased as a gift for a family with six children ages toddler to 16…and another on the way. Needless to say, he spent most of his time in a crate and went outside only on a leash. They knew he deserved better. Despite this less-than-ideal beginning, he proved to be a very well-adjusted puppy who loves dogs, cats, and humans of all ages.
A cuddler who followed me everywhere I went, Milo was especially hard to say goodbye to. He went home with a family and their dog whose hearts needed mending from the loss of another companion. “Now I have two shadows” his new mom wrote. He is where he belongs.
It is always hard to say goodbye to our foster pups – but rewarding to see the joy they bring to others.
So, with apologies to all my 2022 foster kids, we are now caught up.
The call said she was a breeder-surrendered puppy with ectopic ureters. I knew what that meant: she leaked pee.
In the past, she was the kind of puppy that Jody would take up to her house – shielding us from possible heartache if the outlook looked uncertain or grim. But Jody is gone, and an eight-week-old pee girl needs to have her bottom kept clean and dry to stave off infection. I knew that. “Where else is she going to go?” I knew the answer. She had to come home with us.
We have fostered a lot of puppies. She was too small for her age. At eight weeks, she should have been pushing 15 pounds; she weighed in at only 11. She had a bacterial and yeast infection already.
I had a dream that first night. I dreamt that she died.
I reached out and touched the hand of time and knew it was not my friend. We waited for the ultrasound appointment but knew that surgery would be at least 4-5 months away – if the condition was repairable. If it wasn’t? I didn’t want to think that far ahead.
I cleared out the living room and dining room so she would be on washable stone floors. Every supply came out – and more. Mops, buckets, washable pee pads, towels, plastic covered beds, sheets, and gates everywhere. I set my office inside and left one covered couch so I could be close by. It was a small world for her, but a happy one. She ruled her domain, and the big dogs allowed it.
She earned many nicknames: Little Miss Puddles, Miss Pee-a-lot, Tinkle Bell, the Terror of Tinkle Town, and more.
She got her bum washed and dried at last four times a day. At night, we put a diaper on her for an hour – careful not to anger the infection we had beat back – and let her run through the rest of the house. She thought that was a magical time.
Our yard has an open pool, so we set up two enclosures for her in the shade. The big dogs joined her. She loved them.
As often as possible, I took her with me to play in the puppy yard at Homeward Bound. She made friends there.
Finally, ultrasound day arrived. We had been so anxiously awaiting it. The news was devastating and unexpected. Yes – she had an ectopic ureter. But she had only one partially functioning kidney and it was dying.
We had to make a quick decision. It was easy. We brought her home to love her. The weeks we thought we would have turned into only a couple of days – and then a rapid night of decline.
The next morning, we set her free.
Someone said she was just not meant to be – a puppy born with so many obstacles. I knew what they meant, but they were wrong. She was meant to be ours for four short weeks of laughter, joy, and tender puppy kisses. Mabel was meant to be loved.
She left an indelible mark on our chewed baseboards, window sills, table legs – and our broken hearts.
I am so sorry for your cold and snow. Not to rub it in, but I spent the weekend cutting back and clearing out for spring. The danger of frost is now past and the buds on the roses and trees and emerging Daffodils and Tulips signal that a new season is not far away.
The process revealed a plethora of ladybugs –
and blasted Bermuda grass run amuck.
First a final freeze, and then a huge wind blew through last week.
We lost several trees and it picked up our beautiful arbor and tossed it as if it was made of sticks.
It was the very first thing in the garden – long before there was a garden. As if Jody wanted to plant a stake in the overgrown ground and claim it. Built strong and steady by one of “Da Guys” on our facility crew – it sailed but did not break. The legs have been removed and it will be rebuilt, finding its rightful spot soon along our memorial brick-lined path.
The lower trunks of the plum tree that has been threatening failure for the past five years found the ground. Our garden friend, Joey, gave it a professional haircut and hopefully a couple more years of life.
Our baby German Shepherd puppies and their mama, Annie, have found a generous and willing foster to see them through their upraising.
The woman’s dog passed a couple of months ago and she found her home too quiet and empty. There’s nothing like a litter of puppies to fix that! Annie will be so much happier there – and my focus will shift, as planned, to Skye’s first surgery next Wednesday.
It hurts my heart to think of months of rehab for this boy who is so full of life. But it will ensure that he has a long, active and pain-free life. I will keep the end goal in mind and hope he forgives me.
It occurred to me that in my hard-to-write 2020 year, that I had not documented two of our fosters here. The list was not nearly as long as 2019, but lest they be forgotten…
Rubble was named for the place he was found – in a pile of rubble, stray at only 3-4 months of age. This adorable boy with the crooked ears needed a better start to life, so he came home to stay with us for a bit.
I met with his potential adopters when he was ready. It was a meeting unlike any other. They had recently lost their beloved companion. Usually, people instantly swoon and fall in love with puppies but they seemed reserved. I worried that they were not connecting. When they asked if they could go home and think about it, I thought: well, you already know the answer. They left and Rubble and I started packing up to return home. The phone rang. It was the couple. They were on their way back. I was skeptical until I learned the reason for their hesitation: the man thought that maybe he was being disloyal to their departed dog. The woman told him: this is exactly what he would want and what we need to fill the holes in their hearts. And so Rubble became Rebel. He visits our classes weekly and recently graduated to the big dog school! He could not be more loved.
Louie was born blind in one eye. He was raised outside with two other dogs. He was very thin and clearly had to compete for food. When he lost the second eye to trauma – likely over a food discussion – he was suddenly blind. And apparently useless to his people. They left him in a shelter with a the gaping, untreated wound.
Our Doc removed both eyes for his long term health. When he was ready, he came home with us. We quickly saw the food guarding issue – but we also worked with a trainer to get it under control. Other than that, he was a complete love. He adapted very quickly to house living – navigating steps and obstacles with ease. This blind puppy just needed a little guiding.
His potential family was hand-picked. Regan is a young 10-year-old girl who has raised and donated her birthday money each of the last several years to the dogs. Last Christmas, when she came out to deliver her gift, she fell in love with a 12-year-old Golden with terminal cancer who had been abandoned at the vet. Regan convinced her family that Monk needed to be home with them. She lovingly cared for Monk through his last five and a half months of life.
This Christmas, Regan’s parents surprised her and her siblings by bringing Louie – now Murphy – home. It is clear from reports and photos that adopting a blind dog has been a truly rewarding experience for Regan and her family. Fostering one was for us, as well.
Two weeks ago, the asters and Mexican marigolds were still in bloom. Mother Nature can so easily lull Northern California gardeners into false hope of early spring. The narcissus have flowered, the tulips, hyacinths and iris are rapidly making their way. But grey skies and a cold north wind blew in today, with the promise of a hard freeze Monday night.
I was there early for puppy duty. German Shepherd, Annie and her newborns are just visiting. Found stray and very pregnant, she was sent to the shelter. Shelters don’t generally do newborn puppies. Our local GSD rescue pulled her, but reliant on fosters, they had never whelped puppies before. We offered to see her through the birth and their first few weeks before they move to their foster home. Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, our volunteers sat vigil. She birthed six beautiful babies and took to mothering immediately.
Puppy duty at this young age is not hard. It is more about being available to mom for frequent feedings, some cleaning, potty trips and breaks – leaving plenty of time to prepare the garden for the cold ahead.
New shoots and tender perennials are now blanketed in straw.
The sparrows believe it is theirs to nest in.
We began our rescue year with the walking wounded. Broken and fractured pelvises, traumatic nerve damage, one fractured vertebrae; one fractured femur, and a torn ACL. Cars and dogs don’t mix.
My current foster could be counted among them – but his issues are hereditary not inflicted.
At just a few months of age, he was diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia. Skye traveled a very long way for our help. He has interest from lots of potential adopters who want to bring him home once fixed – but so far, no one who meets our criteria has stepped up to see him through two FHO surgeries and months of recovery.
So, Skye is hanging out with us. He will have his first surgery on February 10 and his days of torturing his big foster brother Yogi will be over. Despite the abuse, I know where I will find Yogi when we bring Skye home hurting and sad: sleeping right by his side.
Note to potential adopters: four months is a long time not to fall in love with a dog. We are not looking for dog number three – but just saying!
Bundle up your tender fruit trees and plants, my Northern California gardener friends. And to those of you back east – you can stop laughing at us. Revenge is ours. Just wait for February!
My preference for a packed garden has led to some thuggery.
I spent the day cutting back prized but overgrown California fuschias, cerinthe major (honeywort), and even California poppies to allow the verbascum, sea holly, and blazing star see the light of day.
It’s a happy garden that grows so vigorously that it needs to be edited in May!
Sometimes, gardeners get tunnel vision; all we see are the weeds and work.
The same with rescue; the sad stories and hard days can overwhelm.
To be sure, the usual culprits are there in the garden: Bermuda grass and wild morning glory in particular.
But I say ‘look up.’
In rescue, you learn that you cannot dwell on the obstacles and setbacks. You have to look forward to the good that can be done. While our hearts still ache for the loss of our little Rose to Parvo, we have been celebrating the recovery of Lilac. She stayed with us for a bit to ensure that she would go home strong and healthy –
and so she could make up some lost socialization time during her period of isolation.
Post-darkness, she is a gift of sunlight and happiness.
Look up dear gardener – at the magnificent roses, the tall Verbena that towers, and the Daylilies in bloom.
Look up to the brilliant Yarrow, Matijila poppies, and Jupiter’s Beard.
Look forward to the Delta sunflowers, the Dahilias, Agastache, Penstemon, Bee Balm, Rudbeckia, Zinnias, and Salvias. They will be here before you know it.
The weeds, like troubles, will always be there. But it is the good and beauty that deserves our focus.
A carrier pigeon arrived in the garden in late February. It spent the better part of the day just watching. It was not carrying a written message on its banded leg, but perhaps it foretold what was about to unfold.
The ducks and geese mock us now. Public use areas have been closed due to COVID during the remainder of hunting season. The birds have found plenty of places to feast and fly – unmolested. We envy their togetherness.
The rescue is very quiet.
We have limited our on-site volunteers to two per shift. It ensures that there are teams available to feed, clean, exercise and care for the dogs while protecting ourselves and each other.
I have found a quiet corner in the garden away from working team members to keep the weeds from overrunning the place.
And to get out where it is safe. I usually crave my solitude in the garden.
They can finish healing there while reducing our volunteers’ chores. Our fosters have stepped up in a big way for which we are grateful.
Solitude is hard for some. If we can find a silver lining in this disaster, it is the forced time to stop our hectic lives long enough to appreciate each other, goodness, and the things that should unite not divide.
“It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.” ~K.T. Jong
A friend posted to social media. She was feeling frustrated and penned up. To busy herself, she cleaned her bookshelf where she found a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank. Perspective.
It has been about a month since I have spent any real time there except to rake and do light cleanup.
That’s what happens when foster puppies come to call.
Little Daisy—now Gabby—was with us for a month. Arriving at only seven weeks, she had already been passed around and surrendered for the birth defect on her eye.
At 11 weeks, she was healthy and fat and strong enough for her surgery.
Her eye was removed as the hairy tissue had grown to cover nearly 90 percent of her cornea and was extending to her lower lid. She sees better now without the constant obstacle blocking her view. She recovered quickly and was home in time for Christmas—her new mama’s bundle of joy (and potty-obstinance!).
Happy life, little girl.
In Northern California, we don’t put the garden to bed for the winter as much as we tidy up.
There is still color and foliage to admire –
but work to be done.
When the blossoms fall, the bees finally retreat enough to find the source of the pesky Bermuda grass. The damp ground Is much more gracious about giving up the fugitives it harbors – abolishing all excuses. As the leaves shed, the structure of the garden comes into view. It’s time to start editing select trees and shrubs being careful to leave basal foliage growth protected against expected frost.
Time is measured by the passing seasons –
and the growth of foster pups.
Lily was one of this year’s foster puppies. One that I never wrote about. Not because she was not memorable – but because she was too much so.
People ask how my husband and I can foster puppies and never want to keep them. We had never been tempted. We see ourselves as a part of their journey. Their parting is bitter sweet but we are excited for their new families. Our house is full of doggie love and we know that keeping one might prevent us from helping more.
But Lily was different.
At eight weeks of age, she was found “stray” in a parking lot with a broken leg and taken to an area shelter. Thankfully, she came to us quickly in time to do surgery and save her leg. The photo I took upon her arrival is heartbreaking.
She recovered at our president’s home until she reached a point where she needed regular swim therapy to help rebuild the atrophied muscle around her still growing bones.
So she came home with us where we could swim her in our pool multiple times throughout the day.
We fell in love immediately.
She gained strength quickly. Too quickly. Before we knew it, she had been promised.
She is the one that got away.
Lily has an incredible mom and dad, and to be honest, a life more full of adventures than we could have provided. She could not be more loved and doted on. That is what we want for all of our foster babes.
Still, I keep her photo on my desktop. And when she came to visit this weekend, I was filled with joy and tears.
She is where she is supposed to be. And so am I. In the garden awaiting the next foster arrival.
From a certain angle, you would never know there is something different about these two girls.
To me, they could not be more special. As puppies, they set me on the path to puppy fostering.
Surrendered by a breeder, they both had a congenital abnormality called Megaesophagus. The esophagus – which connects the throat to the stomach – is enlarged and lacks the elasticity or motility required to move food and liquid down to the stomach. Unless gravity is employed, puppies vomit up their food and drink, lose weight, fail to thrive and often do not survive. They were fragile and adorable.
And after a brief time at the rescue, they came to stay with us. They were the first puppies that my Bella accepted.
All previous attempts at fostering failed quickly. But somehow, Bella knew that these puppies had a special need and she overlooked their foolish puppy ways and welcomed them home.
Hope was adopted by one of our volunteers with a heart for special needs dogs.
Faith stayed with me until a home could be found.
As a very young puppy, she was extremely active.
But I noticed that as she grew, she would often stop and refuse to move.
I carried her home on more than one occasion. I thought she was just being stubborn.
She was adopted by a lovely woman who had a special needs son herself. She was drawn to Faith for this reason. But Faith’s stopping continued creating a challenge that was more than the woman knew how to deal with.
By this point, my Bella’s own special needs were overwhelming. She was losing her battle with cancer.
So not long afer Faith was returned, she went to foster with her sister – now named Sophie – and her big brother, Jasper.
We all met up at puppy class,
and Cassandra and I looked at each other with alarm when – in the middle of play – both girls simply collapsed.
They said that it was normal for puppies to overdo – but we both knew it was more. It turns out that Faith and Sophie had another inherited concern: centronuclear myopathy or CNM. Muscle fibers do not grow normally. Dogs are unable to walk and exercise normally and are prone to collapse or locking up in heat or cold. It develops between six weeks and seven months; the result of poor breeding. What we were seeing was its progression.
Four years later, you can clearly see the muscle wasting from other angles,
but the dogs have thrived in their mom’s great care. I honestly don’t know where they would be without her.
They began their journey in Hello Kitty chairs
and now have grown up custom dog chairs that they back themselves into to eat and sit upright for an hour while gravity does its work.
Mom monitors their exercise in hot or cold – but mostly they all enjoy couch time and snuggles together. Homeward Bound ensures their medical care for life.
Once a year, when mom takes a much-needed and well-deserved break, the dogs come to stay with us. This week, I was on puppy duty anyway, so I gladly took on Faith and Sophie’s feedings as well. It is the very least I could do for a woman who opened her heart and home to these very special sisters.
Bella left us not long after Faith went to live with Cassandra. I reflect often on her unique acceptance of these two girls. I think she would be proud of the puppy-fostering legacy she began – with Jackson and Yogi giving others hope and faith that the will get the start in life they deserve.
P.S…my sincere thanks to the adoption team who managed to get Barley and Hops adopted today so I can leave on my trip to Yellowstone worry free!!
This is Yogi taking a forced break from puppy fostering.
It has been nonstop since the beginning of July. GiGi’s litter: Garrett, Gabe, Griffin and Gracie.
Before them, Rose, Ty, and Nutmeg,
Fourteen puppies in eight months. No wonder Yogi is exhausted!
He’s such a great sport and expert puppy raiser, entertaining them, teaching them boundaries, watching over them, and generally allowing them to torture him.
It’s that later part that put him in the cone. Too many puppy licks in ears and eyes leading to infections; lowered immune system and allergies causing hot spots. He has more than earned a break. Camp Yogi is temporarily closed for business. So, naturally, as soon as the cone went on, these two showed up.
Adorable little Heeler mix pups that someone dumped in a field near the rescue. Thankfully picked up by a good Samaritan and brought to us. We named them Barley and Hops. It kills me to leave puppies at the rescue. Not that we have not raised hundreds. But I believe puppies need to be in a home where they can get all of the attention, care, and socialization they need to start their young lives off right. And no matter how careful we are and how separate we keep them, there is always the risk of another dog coming in carrying their own unwelcome guest before these little fur balls have developed strong immune systems.
So naturally, one of these two became unwell. When I arrived last weekend, Barley was clearly not feeling good. His temperature had skyrocketed, he wasn’t eating, and he didn’t want to get up. Emergency measures were kicked in. The fever broke quickly, and by the next day, he was eating. But his legs were not working.
While my mind races right to dark, scary places, our leader stays firmly in the light of hope and drags me along with her. His brother showed no symptoms. She said to let the medicine and rest do its thing. They remained separated, but together, and isolated from all others with only the two of us watching over them. Thirty-six hours later, he got up long enough to poo. The next day, he stood to eat. And by the time Doc set eyes on him again, he greeted her standing with tail wagging. From there, he progressed rapidly. A week later, he is running and jumping…and now…my puppy worlds have collided.
While they wait for their own adoption day, Barley and Hops are hanging out with my former foster, Conway – now named Chance.
I’m hoping we can get Yogi over his hot spots as quickly, because everyone loves a happy ending.
The last puppy is home! Garrett stayed with us for an extra week until his new mom came back from her vacation.
He was a joy to have. Smart. Funny. Playful. Sweet. A bit of a baby who gained some much-needed confidence with the big boys away from his littermates.
He has taken to his new family like water…forgetting all about us like yesterday’s news!
The thermometer topped out at 106 so the weeds were allowed to continue their march. Relative cool returns tomorrow and so will I to uproot the blasted Bermuda grass and free the sizzled garden.
Fifteen dogs are on their way to us, but the lull this week was lovely. After submitting my last work project on Friday, I started organizing old photo files. For the website, we look for a direct eye contact and a happy face. Looking into a dog’s eyes is where people first fall in love. But it is the outtakes that warm my heart and truly capture their personalities.
The “I thought I saw a kitty cat!”…
The “I am safe” look…
And you name this one!
Somehow my teammates managed to get 11 dogs home this week before adopters passed out from the heat. All are special, but a few are especially so.
Casey lived such a sheltered life that he attached too strongly to his mom to the point of fearing all others—including her husband. The situation became impossible. His whole life was uprooted when he was surrendered to us. He gradually accepted a select few into his inner circle; their job was to expand his circle and help him learn how to adapt to new people and surroundings. His adopter has traveled two hours each way to visit him weekly and earn his trust. This week, our team will transport Casey to her so his transition to home is as smooth as possible.
Blackie is the other half of Blondie and Blackie.
These 10-year-old Shih Tzu mixes came to us through a volunteer when their human dad could no longer care for them. We thought they would be gone in a heartbeat, but two videos and one special appeal later, only Blondie had been adopted. They adapted surprisingly well as little dogs in a big dog rescue, but home is where they both belong. Another volunteer took Blackie home this week and will be flying him to his mother who has been searching high and low for a boy just like him.
Little Libby has a fan club. She was dumped in a field in Southern California mostly blind and deaf and covered in mats. She was picked up by animal control and taken to a high-kill shelter. Imagine the terror. She could not stop whimpering. A campaign was launched to secure her release and she was ultimately transported to us where she received good care and medical attention; still, she was inconsolable. Which made her the perfect candidate for our well-known dognapper who scooped her up and quickly became a foster-failure. Libby is now home.
Not a Golden Retriever in the mix and we couldn’t care less. All are deserving of a second chance and a place called home.
Most of our foster puppies promise to remember us always and then quickly forget when they find their forever homes. How do I know? Many come back for class or reunions. I may get a passing hello, but they are much more interested in playtime with the dogs than visiting with me.
An exception: Baby Sara – now named Jessie. You may recall from a past post, Jessie is the offspring of a Golden mom and a dad of many colors.
She was born and reared feral in a field until a woman living nearby could win mom’s trust. Since Jessie would not leave mom’s side, she had to choice but to be caught too – but unhappily so.
Our volunteers worked hard to socialize her enough for her to come home with us where my Yogi and Jackson completed the job.
She was adopted by a wonderful family and their Lab, Harper. Jessie helped to fill an empty spot in all of their hearts after the loss of their other dog.
Harper is very protective of her new sister. So much so, that if they are in class together, Harper spends all of her time keeping the other dogs away from Jessie. It was not a good example for Jessie, and was not providing the socialization she needed, so Jessie takes her classes solo now. When she spots me…she comes running into my arms and will not settle into class until our greeting is completed with belly rubs and kisses.
She is a little dog who thinks she is a big dog – until she gets rolled a couple of times in play and then she retreats to a corner. So she was delighted to make a new friend this weekend at school: Gracie.
Gracie is a four-month old Golden who—despite towering over Jessie—is also a little leery of the bigger dogs.
They are well matched: Even with those little legs, Jessie can outrun Gracie – but Gracie uses her height…
and weight…to her advantage when she catches up.
Still, Jessie was clearly laying down the rules of engagement.
Dogs are excellent teachers.
Jessie: That’s too ruff…I’m not playing with you until you calm down.
Gracie: Ah come on….
Gracie: You can’t resist me…
Jessie: Nope. Not working.
Gracie: What if I say I’m sorry?
Gracie: What if I am adorable???
Jessie: OK, we can be friends again. Just watch yourself!