Camp Yogi: Temporary Closure

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.

Beau

Dude

and Conway.

Before them, Rose, Ty, and Nutmeg,

Anna,

Sara,

Lily,

and Noah.

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.

Blossoming

The gardening is waking up. After a long, wet winter and many false starts, there are signs everywhere signaling spring’s arrival.

But the bulbs and trees are not alone in their blossoming.

Sara is an adorable little black and white hot-dog of a puppy born in a field to her Golden mom. First noticed around Thanksgiving last year, a kindly neighbor began leaving out food for mom and her dwindling litter of pups. After several months, only Sara remained. She learned to stay close to mom and to be wary of everything. Survival instincts: finely-honed.

Mom started warming up to the neighbor woman. She had been someone’s dog once, and while distrustful at first, she took a chance in hopes of finding comfort and safety. When mom and baby could finally be caught, both were brought to Homeward Bound.

Initially, both were terrified. Mom started coming around after a bit, but baby Sara would not leave mama’s side. Our volunteers did an amazing job of coaxing them out of their shells, spending time with them and making them feel safe. One even fell asleep petting them in their kennel. Human touch is an amazing healer.

Baby Sara is somewhere between 5 and 6 months old. She stayed with mom long past the point when most pups strike out on their own. Mama was beyond ready to spread her wings and find her own future with a waiting family.

So baby Sara came home with me to spend some time at Camp Yogi and begin to learn about the world through the eyes of her foster friends.

It just about ripped my heart out to separate Sara from her mom, but we all knew it was the best thing for both.

There was some crying and whining, but she attached quickly to our dogs and to my husband and me. The hardest part was not coddling her. She didn’t need protection any more, she needed to gain confidence. She got together time and alone time. She got playtime and quiet time. She took to potty training like a pro, jumped into the bed like she owned it, and leapt right into our hearts. She was blossoming: playful and joyful and growing in her independence every day.

This weekend, she met a family of adults and their 18-month-old Lab, Harper. They had all been grieving the loss of their senior dog; Harper was feeling lost. Shy at first, we left Harper and baby Sara in the yard together and watched from afar. Baby immediately started following Harper around and Harper seemed glad for her company. The match was made. Baby left with a smile on her face and didn’t even turn back to say goodbye. On the ride home, she snuggled close to Harper. And the happy updates have been flowing ever since.

A lot of effort goes into planning for spring blooms.

You watch and wait, hoping it will pay off. When it does, it makes your heart soar.

Happy life, little Sara…the brightest flower of spring.