Thursday, December 23, 2004

Doggie/People vacation

Back from vacation and its is pretty darn cold here after Tucson! All the doggies are back home and in their typical routines now. I think Quinn is the only one who really missed being at home.

I went to pick up Quinn from Linda's house when we got home on Monday evening. Linda is really great for taking Quinn while we've been gone. He has so many needs: 3 meals a day, lots of meds an hour before he eats, and constant vigilance in case he needs to run outside to throw up. When I went to Linda's house, Quinn saw me come in and headed straight for the door. He wanted to get home so bad he kept looking back at me wondering when we were leaving. She said he was really good and only threw up a couple of times. I think Quinn was ok at Linda's, but he's extremely comfortable with routine and this is the first in a very long time that he's had to stay at a stranger's house for a few days. Hopefully Linda will be willing to take him again in the future.

Sheba stayed with Jen and Din and of course they are a lot more active with Sheba than we are. For a 10-yr old dog, Sheba loves walks and playing, but we've been pretty bad about activity recently. So Sheba of course loved being at Jen's house. She lounged on their comfy seats and got nice long walks and fetch sessions. She probably came home kicking and screaming, especially since she has to share our attention with two other dogs in the house.

I believe Max had quite a ball at Timojhen's house. He got to play with Molotov (their 14 yr old lab mix), Lulu the cat, and Troy, their 9 mos old son. The good thing is that Max did not eat Lulu. Whenever they came into contact with each other, as long as Lulu didn't run, Max backed off. As soon as Lulu started running, Max would chase her, but nothing would happen. The first night, Molotov and Max played a lot, and it pretty much continued through the weekend. By the time Max left, Molotov was pretty exhausted. Max was also great with Troy. Apparently Troy is at the point of touching a lot of things, and whenever he starts poking at Molotov, he just gets up and out of the way. However Max would just sit there and let Troy all over him. When Max got tired, he would just lay there and let Troy crawl all over him. Max also enticed Nancy to call him on the bed the first night. After fighting for spaceand listening to the snoring, the next day he was banished off the bed. Max simply walked out of the bedroom and slept on their family room couch. He did spend a few more nights on their bed, but I'm really surprised since Max is a total bed hog. I think Timojhen and Nancy really liked Max and would probably dogsit him again in the future...yay!

So overall, I think the poochies had quite a fun vacation while we were gone, but its good to have them back home.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Groundhog Incident

We found out from the Lab Rescue Christmas Party why Max was given up. Both Mike and I were quite puzzled why anyone would give up such a great dog as Max. He's quite mellow for a puppy, housebroken, obedience trained, and very sweet. Apparently Max was an involuntary give-up. Max had another dog friend he often ran with, and they were found with a dead cat. No one was quite sure who killed the cat, but Max had to be given up which is when lab rescue got him. The general feeling was that Max was at the scene of the crime, but it was actually the other dog that killed the cat.

Mike and I no longer believe that might be entirely true. We have groundhogs that live in our backyard for a few years now. The dogs will catch sight of them and chase them from the yard. However since dogs rushing down the deck stairs are noisy, the groundhogs have more than enough time to make it under the fence before the dogs get close. Its been a co-habitation for a while, the dogs get a little bit of fun and no one gets hurt.

After a few of these chases, Max decided to try a different approach. He sat on a little hill overlooking the burrow entrance and just stared at the entrance. After about 20 minutes, the groundhog came out of his burrow and that's when Max made his move. Max caught it and did cause damage to the back right side of the groundhog. Mike and I heard lots of barking and saw Max lunging at something on the ground. When we got close, we noticed the groundhog's back legs didn't seem to be working well. We put it into a box with some newspaper and brought it back to its burrow. We left the box there while I called the Wildlife Rescue Assc. By the time we went back to see how the groundhog was doing, it had disappeared (probably back into the burrow).

We think the groundhog is still alive. I've been leaving food (apples, potatoes, assorted veggies) at the entrance, and it disappears the next day (and its not the dogs stealing it). Also, I've noticed fresh dirt that's been dug out of the burrow. So either the groundhog is alive and well, or another groundhog has moved into the tunnel and buried the old one (yuck). The strangest part though is groundhogs are supposed to be hibernating right now (starting mid-oct) so I have no idea what it was doing out.

So Max definitely has a high prey drive and we think hemay have been more than just an observer in the cat incident in his previous home.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Its been a while

Its been a pretty long time since I've updated the journal. We ended up adopting Max and I've been so busy with his goofy behavior that I haven't updated the journal in quite a while. I'll have to start writing regularly about all the silly things the dogs are doing now since we're probably not going to foster for a while yet.

Sheba used to suffer from seizures every few months. We didn't see a seizure from her for a couple of years now, so we figured it was over. Strangely on sunday we were talking to some friends about the same subject. Later that night when we were home, Sheba ended up going into a seizure! The poor thing, this one lasted about 3.5 minutes. She was having some problems, but it seemed like she was a little more aware of her surroundings during the seizure than in the past. Previously she seems oblivious to what is happening, but during this one she didn't seem quite as deep though it lasted longer. The good thing is that she didn't seem to suffer from any after effects. I hate it when that happens! There's nothing we can do but watch and try to keep her calm.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Quinn's internist visit

Poor Quinn, I think he hates all doctors now. He had an internist appt on Thursday last week as a follow-up. We've been giving him all his drugs and food, but he still has problems with vomiting and diarrhea. Not as much, but enough that we had to make an appt with the vet on the previous Tuesday to see what could be done. After the vet visit, we got (even more) drugs which seems to have helped.

On thursday, we brought him outside and the poor guy avoided the truck. He did not want to get into it and everytime we got close, he would veer off. I can't really blame him though, every single car ride he's been on for about a year has been to a doctor. We drove to the internist and Quinn threw up outside in the grass. We brought him inside and when it was our turn to go into the office, Quinn headed straight to the outside door. At least once we were in the office, he settled down and laid on the carpet while we spoke with the doctor.

We decided against a second ultrasound because it didn't matter what we found, there was nothing that could be done. Instead we decided to do another gastrin level test. He had gone up so drastically in 1.5 mos (300+ to 770; normal is 30-70). We wanted to see where he was at this point, we're hoping his gastrin level went down (which is possible). Doc said once the gastrin level hits 1000, it gets harder to control. So the tech took him into the back for the blood test. We don't get the results back for one week, so hopefully we'll find out at the end of this week.

The saddest part was after the test and Quinn was back in the room with us, we were just waiting around so we can go home. The tech opened the door after 10 min. When Quinn saw her, he tried to hide under my chair! I think the poor thing got so tired of the poking, prodding, needles. At least it was finally over and we headed home.

He's doing better now. We don't think he's thrown up since the internist visit. He seems quite content and plays with Max, the foster. He shows a lot of interest in what we're doing, especially in the kitchen. With luck, he'll stay pretty stable for a while.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Trail of breadcrumbs...

Got home today and looks like Max was really busy. I found a trail of items that wound around the entire upstairs hallway. Not only did Max pull clothes and a belt from the bedroom, but he also picked up a lunchbox, shoe, and winter hat from the kitchen and brought them upstairs. I have no idea what he does during the day, but he must move around a lot.

Max is becoming more active. I'm not sure if its because he's feeling better from the antibiotics or because he's more comfortable in the house. He's started barrelling towards me when I'm crouched down, doesn't quite understand the concept of brakes. He's also trying to kiss me by putting my entire chin in his mouth. Definitely a lot more pushy about getting affection or food from us now. I've had to push him away in exasperation a few times now.

Max is more active about playing too. He's tried to play with Sheba and Quinn a few times (most of the time our dogs just ignore him). Plus he's been more intent about retrieving anything inside the house. I can definitely see him turning into a retrieving maniac.

He snores all the time!

Max is still snoring up a storm. The funny thing is that he snores when he's not really sleeping though! Last night, he was resting on the kitchen floor with his head on his paw and before his eyes closed, he was snoring. Goof. He does that in the bed too. He'll be laying on his side and start snoring, only he's definitely not asleep yet.

I think the lack of space is starting to get Mike a little grumpy. Three dogs on the bed gets a bit crowded, especially since they seem to prefer Mike's side. I've been sleeping ok since I have enough space, so I know Mike definitely doesn't. Since Quinn seems to be getting better, I think we can probably let him sleep on the dog bed again (we've been forcing him on the bed so we can hear him jump off if he has to go out in the middle of the night). We'll have to see whether we can get Max to sleep on the floor. Max doesn't hesitate about jumping on the bed as long as there is someone already in it.

We'll have to see how the sleeping arrangements work tonight or Mike may give up and go sleep in the guest room.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

My shoes are where??

As I mentioned before, Max is very orally fixated. He doesn't chew on anything, but loves to carry things around in his mouth. Over the weekend, we went out to lunch for a couple of hours. When we got back, my sneakers were not at the door: one was by the fireplace and the other was balanced on the arm of the sofa! Yesterday when we got home from work, he decided to chastise us for leaving clothes on the floor. He had taken about 4 articles of clothing we tossed on the floor outside our closets, and moved them into the hallway right outside the bedroom. LOL, he's made us become better about picking up after ourselves.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Max is such a clown!

So far, Max has been really really easy. Unlike most fosters we have, he hasn't had one accident in the house yet. That alone gives us reason to like him! He's also been really easy overall, and doesn't take much effort. For a two year old, he's so mellow!

Max doesn't have as much personality as Keebler or Thor. He's more a mix of Webster and Connor: very mellow and cuddly. He climbs up on the bed and couch, and tries to often climb into your lap... all 110 lbs of him. Max is also a leaner. When you pet him, he leans against you for more rubbing until you're about to fall over from his weight. He's a bit lazy and loves to just lay around with our dogs. He'll retrieve the ball a little bit, but easily gets distracted and then just drops the ball anywhere.

Max is an extremely orally fixated dog. He loves to come up to you and swipe your face with his big, but gentle tongue. He also picks up towels we have around the house (to help with Quinn's drool) and just walks around with them in his mouth. When we take him for a walk, he'll grab the leash in his mouth for the whole walk, until something else catches his attention.

He has played for short intervals with Sheba and Quinn. He and Quinn will wrestle and bark for a little while. Sheba and Max will play chase, but it usually ends pretty quickly when Quinn starts barking (the only way he knows how to play).

Max had a potential adopter come see him this weekend. She really liked him, but her 10 yr old lab didn't interact as much with Max. That means we get to keep him longer! I keep trying to convince Mike to adopt Max, but it may not be the best time with Quinn's various illnesses.

It has gotten a lot more crowded on our bed at night though. All three dogs have taken to sleeping on the bed, which is 250 extra lbs! The snoring will take some getting used to also. Otherwise he is such a great and funny dog!

Friday, October 8, 2004

Yay, another biggun



After a pretty long break from fostering, Quinn's been sick and a planned camping trip, we picked up a new foster dog last night. He's a big (105 lb) black lab, 2 years old and goes by the name Max. He is a totally cutie-pie! His form resembles Keebler in that he's very leggy and American. He also lopes and wriggles his body when he walks around.

For a 2-yr old, he's extremely calm. He has ehrlichiosis, a tick-borne disease similar to Lyme's disease, so I'm not sure if some of that is due to the disease or just because he's such a mellow dog. He's currently on the antibiotics, but since he's not a voracious eater, he spits out the pills. We've had to use the old stand-by, peanut butter so that he would eat his pills. He does take his time about dog food and chews each piece, while spitting out a few pieces along the way. Sheba loves this because after he's finished eating, she comes along and picks up all the extra pieces he left over the floor. Max does seem to be familiar with people food though, since he'll follow us around the kitchen and his nose gets REALLY close to our food.

He's adjusted very well with our dogs. Max and Quinn had a playbow session and did a bit of goofing off for about a few minutes today. Last night, Max seemed quite taken with Sheba and tried to mount her, but she let him know who was boss very quickly! Later in the night, he and Sheba had a play session also and both seemed to have some fun.

Max is a comfort dog. He had no problems jumping on the bed and keeping his space. He's also a snorer, not as bad a Winston, but a good contender. Max is definitely one of those dogs where we wonder why his owner gave him up. He's a sweetheart, really easy and very mellow. I'm positive he's not going to be in the system very long.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

She's a diva!

Holly has been a really funny foster dog. She's quite easy because she's pretty low-energy. Currently she's sprawled out on the hardwood floor having dreams about running through mud. When she does get excited, she gets a bit nippy though which is tough. If she's been in the crate for the day, she's pretty obnoxious when she comes out.

Holly's got a great face though, and she knows how to use it. In a lot of ways, she reminds me of Sheba, our princess. Like Sheba, she's a champion beggar, those big chocolate eyes get so gooey and sad. Holly has a voracious appetite for human food, and she eagerly waits for her share when the other two dogs line up. She is a coward at heart though. I guess Quinn feels possessive about licking the pan because sometimes he'll growl at Holly and she'll immediately back off and hide behind Mike.

She's also a princess since she will only listen to commands when it suits her. She'll only come when its in her best interest. Call her from the deck when she's exploring and she won't acknowledge your presence. Call her from the deck with a bagful of dog food and she'll bolt towards you like there's no tomorrow. She's a very smart dog, and uses it to her best advantage. She knows the words "ride" and "walk" and will perk up when she hears them. If you tell her "walk" she'll go into the dog room and try to grab the leash. If you say "ride" she'll start hopping around you and head towards the door.

She loves to get comfortable. If she's not on the couch, she'll get on the bed and sleep on her back with her legs in the air. Holly loves to cuddle next to people too.

Its really easy to play with Holly. She loves to be chased, just like Sheba. We just need to give her a wide-eyed look with a big smile and pounce towards her. She'll start with the puppy-crazies and run around the table. She's also begun taking the doggy towels around the house in her mouth, same as Quinn when he gets excited. She'll either hold it while you chase her, or she'll bring it to you for a strong game of tug-of-war. We've gotten her and Quinn to play tug-o-war once in a while which is quite entertaining to watch.

Mud puppy

Holly definitely loves water. She loves anything that resembles water. This evening, we let the dogs in the backyard to wander around a while after their dinner. Sheba and Quinn came back after about 10 min. I didn't see Holly come in, so I decided to check on her. I went out on the deck and saw her rushing back towards me. She climbed up the deck stairs and as she got closer, I noticed that she was soaking wet head to toe, top to bottom. I had no idea what happened, since it was quite hot outside, and the only thing that is even damp is the little run-off spring we have in the back. Just as I was thinking that, she came up to me and shook. With that, I noticed Holly was soaked in muddy water!

Before I had a chance to stop her, she had pushed open the door and rushed into the family room (where the carpet is off-white). She dripped her way into the room, went over to the couch, and sat down on the carpet. Agh! Then we had to drag her back outside, and so she decided to go around the coffee table and drip on more clean carpet before making it outside. We hosed her off, and dried her down. She was definitely soaked through with muddy water. She had a blast and had the puppy-crazies. She ran around and around the deck table with shiny eyes thinking this was the best thing!

Cleaning up the carpet wasn't a lot of fun. After scrubbing it down, we got most of the stains out, but we probably need to steam-clean again. I have to say Holly has been extremely entertaining since she's come to us. She's an easy foster in most ways. But its time for her to move to a new foster home, since we're going on vacation for a little while.

Sunday, August 8, 2004

She's a swimmer

Since last weekend was so hot and humid, we thought it would be a good idea to take the dogs over to our neighbor's swimming pool. Even though some of our fosters may love water, they never understand how the pool works and therefore don't go in. For a pond or lake, its easy for them, because they just step into the water, but the pool is a big hole with no easy way for them to discern how to get in and out.

Holly started out the same as our other fosters. She ran around the edges of the pool and once in a while tried to stick a paw into the water but didn't have much luck. Sheba and Quinn had their usual jolly good time. Since Holly seemed to want to go into the water, and a previous foster home said she loves to swim, I took her over to the steps and pulled her in until her front paws touched the first step. She seemed to get the idea and soon after that, she was going in and out of the pool like a pro! When she got tired of swimming around or running around the pool, she would sit on the first steps and cool off. Holly was definitely having a great time. She even started fetching the balls in the pool.

On Sunday, we went back over again to go swimming. This time our neighbors brought out their 3-yr old twins, Maggie and Lindsey. Maggie is absolutely fearless! She would jump into the pool and expect someone to pull her out of the water, she loved being under the water. Both of them would sit on the steps and throw the ball for the dogs. Quinn played a lot more than usual, and of course he was pretty achy that night. By the second day, Holly had no fear of the pool and would easily come in and out of the water whenever she felt like it. Sheba was her normal usual self and as long as someone threw a ball for her, she was in heaven.

If the weather starts getting hotter again, we'll have to take Holly back over for a swim. We did get some pretty good pictures of her in the water.



Monday, July 26, 2004

Ultra sonic yawn

I gotta say Holly is a pretty easy foster. Currently she's just vegetating on the floor while we work. She's definitely into the human comforts of the sofa and bed. This morning while in the shower, I noticed that Holly wasn't in the bathroom. When we got out and into the bedroom, she was sprawled out on the bed looking quite comfortable. Last night after game-playing in the office I came out into the family room and found her cuddled on the couch on top of a few pillow.

So far the silliest thing is her yawn. Her yawn is extremely high-pitched every time. At a higher volume, it could probably shatter glass. I guess its just the way she yawns, because it sounds the same every single time. Last night she was pretty good, and slept most of the night on the floor. I guess she got lonely, because when Sheba and Quinn got on the bed early this morning, she popped up on the bed too. I was definitely a bit squished since Mike still had tons of space on his side, but I had to deal with 3 dogs. I don’t think my body is supposed to contort like that.

Holly seems to get the puppy-crazies pretty easily. After coming back from outside this evening, she grabbed one of the dog towels and looked at us expectantly. So Mike started to chase her around the family room and again she had a ball! She also loves to play tug-o-war but the tennis ball doesn’t seem to interest her much. We’ll bounce it on the patio and she’ll go after it, but then she’ll just drop it instead of bringing it back to us.

Ugh, we have to clean her ears out again. That’s not going to be fun.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Holly's turn now

No break for us. LRR received approximately 6-8 new dogs in the past week, so the foster homes are all busy. Holly is our current new foster dog. We got her on Saturday. She's a 6.5 yr old chocolate lab. She's about 70 lbs and slightly smaller than Sheba. She's a little bit tubby and needs to lose some weight. She's got a great face made cuter by the fact that its a bit odd-looking. Her snout is a bit short, and her face is a bit wide. Her nose and eyes are chocolate and match her face perfectly.

The previous foster home adored her, but none of the potential adopters that looked at her wanted her. The director thinks that maybe Holly was so comfortable in her previous foster home that she just didn't show very well. Having her here for one day, I don't understand why someone would not want to adopt her though.

The first day we got her, we blocked off the first floor so that she couldn't wander far. Our experience has shown us that all new foster dogs sniff everything and then pee somewhere (most probably marking). We were more nervous because of Delta and we just shampooed the family room carpet. She was perfect though, no accidents anywhere. She did sniff like crazy, but she's been very good.

She loves attention and will climb into your lap to lick you all over. The difference between her and Delta is that she is pliable and will get off you. Also when I'm relaxing on the couch, she'll lay down on the floor and vegetate without bothering us.

Holly has some dirty ears which we had to clear out...boy, she did NOT enjoy that. But afterwards, she got the "puppy-crazies" and Mike and I chased her all over the family room.

She's turning out to be quite an easy foster. She follows us around and begs for food, but she's not pushy. She does need to lose some weight though, so that means Mike and I will need to get off our lazy butts and take her for long walks since she doesn't seem to play with the tennis ball.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Delta gone already

Delta was only at our house for about a week and a half. We found a lump near her ear and so needed to send her to the vet. The vet has decided to operate because of the size and hardness of the lump, she doesn't believe it is just a fatty lump. I think we will no longer pet any of our fosters anymore. We keep finding various problems with them, most which seem to be harmless (fatty lumps, itchy skin, etc), but a good number of our fosters have had the see the vet for one reason or the other.

Delta is extremely cute, but I have to say she was probably too much for us. The first week was pretty tough for her I think. She's been moved so much that it took her about 4-5 days to settle down. She did a lot of pacing and panting for a couple of days. She started to calm down and follow us around everywhere.

We ran into two issues with her though. The first took us a few days to figure out. Delta doesn't seem to empty her bladder at once when she's outside. She'll go outside and pee, then anywhere between 1-10 minutes later, she'll pee almost as much as the first time. We didn't realize that at first. We'd let her out to pee and bring her back in. We didn't understand why she would have an accident in the house 20-30 minutes later. When we finally figured it out, the accidents around the house stopped.

The other issue is that she LOVES attention. Its very cute until she becomes insistent. We'll be sitting on the couch and she'll try to climb over you for attention. If you push her off, she starts to get excited and a little mouthy (nothing ever more than a little pressure). The spray bottle (water only) worked great in training her to not climb on us. She is extremely velcro-y though. I think she'd do great in a house by herself. We noticed she would battle for affection when other dogs were around, but when she was by herself, she was much more calm. Also, she picks up on the mood of the other dogs and when they get playful or excited, she is all over the place.

The cool thing is that she picked up retrieving while with us. When we first got her, she would only play ball inside the house. When we threw the ball outside, she would completely ignore it. However as we played more ball inside, I guess she grew to really love it, and so she started playing outside. By the time she left, she would play outside until her tongue was hanging to the ground. She's definitely a medium energy dog and needs to play or take long walks to move some of that energy along.

The oddest thing was that she was one of the few fosters we had that bonded to Mike instead of me. She would follow Mike around everywhere and was constantly looking for attention from him. That was ok with me because it allowed me to lay on the couch and read a book without having to constantly pet her.

This entry probably sounds like we did not like Delta, but that wasn't true. We found her to be extremely adorable and fun to be around. She's affectionate and sweet. She loves people and she got along with our dogs well (after the first encounter). She was very good around the 3.5 year old daughter of potential adopters. She loves nothing more than to be around us and would stay in one place while we continued to pet her. She'll make someone a great pet. I think it was tough for us in only one respect (after the housebreaking part). Mike and I tend to be pretty laid-back people (aka lazy) and we enjoy quiet time after work. Delta would not allow that from us which frustrated us a little. Otherwise, she's a really great dog. I know she'll find a home pretty easily.

Thursday, July 8, 2004

New foster, Delta

Got a new foster last night by the name of Delta. She's a little black lab that reminds me of Makinzi. She's a little smaller than Sheba, but more solid, so I'm guessing she probably weighs about 70 lbs. She came last night and spent ALL night panting and pacing. I guess new places make her nervous because she did not stop moving the whole time.

She's a sweet looking dog and likes to try to sit in laps. When we went upstairs to the bedroom, she kept pacing and panting. I coaxed her on the bed and she looked over at the dresser mirror. She saw herself reflected in the mirror and starting growling. She would growl, then inhale more air, then growl some more. After she got off the bed, she would circle to the dresser, put her front two paws on the top of the dresser and stare at herself in the mirror some more (at least no more growling).

When we went to sleep, she continued panting and pacing until Mike couldn't take it anymore. He took her to the crate downstairs and she seemed to like that. She went straight into the crate and laid down. She was quiet and settled until we took her out this morning.

I think there are potential adopters coming to see her this weekend, so we'll see how it goes. Hopefully she'll have settled down a little more by then.

Keebler's been adopted!

Keebler has finally been adopted from LRR. He's been in the system for about 6 mos now and even though he's a total sweetie, he seemed to "show badly" when potential adopters came to see him. I think his age (6), his size, and his exuberance at meeting new people turned off some adopters.

During the 4th of July weekend, Mike and I had family come over and we didn't want the chance of Keebler bolting out the door with all the kids in the house. We moved Keebler for the weekend to another foster home with a scheduled visit from a potential adopter. The adopters had seen Buster on the lrr website and had their heart set on him, but LRR told them to visit a couple other dogs that may be a good fit too. They first saw Buster and loved him right away. Then visited Holly and although the husband liked Holly, the wife liked Buster a lot more. At this point, they still really like Buster and don't feel like visiting Keebler, but do so anyways.

When they visited Keebler, he must have decided that this was the family for him. The foster home told us he was on his best behavior. He was very sedate and rolled on his back so they would scratch his belly. When they took him for a walk, he was very good on the leash (that's thanks to Mike), and they absolutely adored him. Something seemed to click between Keebler and this family and they adopted him on the spot.

We got a mail from the family saying that he's been a sweetheart since he's moved in. He's already made himself comfortable on their bed and has taken long walks in the forest. He's very well behaved and is very good with strangers. The cats are still a bit nervous around him, but they haven't declared war yet. Keebler sounds like he's having a blast in his new home and we are so happy he's found the right place. I can't wait to see him at the reunion picnic!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Heeee's back! Part 2

And today we had a pretty big incident. Keebler (and of course our dogs) love to chase things around the yard. We often have groundhogs inside the fenced yard, but they run through the fence and the dogs have never caught them. We also have lots of deer walk/graze right outside of the fence. The dogs often catch sight of them and run around the yard chasing them.

This afternoon, Keebler and Quinn started hopping, whining, and barking at the back door. I figured they must see something in the backyard so I open the back door and watched them bolt outside. Keebler ran to the back of the yard where there is a deer just watching him from the other side of the fence. When Keebler gets close enough, it runs, but instead of running further away from our yard, it parallels the yard, and therefore parallels the fence separating Keebler from the deer. Keebler keeps up with the deer until the fence stops; however Keebler did not stop. For a split second I was afraid he would jump the fence. What happened was worse, the silly dog went right through it! His chest must have met the second rung of the fence and split it from the post, and the force of the hit also pushed the wiring away from the post so that Keebler could get through.

As soon as I realized he wasn't stopping at the end of the fence, I grabbed some shoes, a leash, and some treats and ran after him. He was right outside the fence looking a bit dazed. I called to him, but when I tried to reach for him, he decided to play keep-away. I ended up chasing after him for about 10 minutes. I only caught up to him when he decided to poop. I used that to grab and leash him. Its interesting because in the past when he bolts the door, he runs to neighboring yards to sniff, but he comes back to us when we call him. This time, he was definitely pulling a "Winston" (previous foster) where he would stay about 10-20 feet ahead of me. If I got too close, he would trot off which was rather frustrating for me, but probably humorous to him.

At this point, I've jerry-rigged the wiring to the post using some rope. Mike's going to use screws so it will be harder for it to seaparate from the post. Currently I'm a bit petrified in letting the dogs out when they get excited. I don't want Keebler to get through the fence again. I'm very surprised that he didn't hurt himself in that little endeavor. At this point, he's passed out under the coffee table probably having lots of dreams about chasing deer.

Heeee's back! Part 1

So Keebler was our first foster for the year and he's back with us now. When we moved him to a different foster home earlier this year, he seemed to have some trouble with the home. They said he barked incessantly, scratched and pawed at doors when people left, and did not interact with the other dogs in the household. This isn't what we experienced with him, so we volunteered to take him back with us and see how he did.

The last foster home that had him before us is big into obedience and had Keebler for two weeks. He must have been working on Keebler because his barking is much better now. He still needs some work on obedience commands when he's so excited though.

We got him on Sat June 19th and he's been up to his silly little tricks and one major biggie.

On Sat night, Mike was playing Metroid Prime on the gamecube. He was sitting on the beanbag with chips and dip beside him. The three dogs were all passed out, Keebler under the coffee table, Sheba on the couch, and Quinn on the ground. All of a sudden, Mike says "Hey!", then a couple of seconds later a much more forceful and loud "HEY!!". Even though Keebler was sleeping, he must have smelled the food and decided he wanted some. He scooched up slowly (without either of us noticing), stuck his nose in the dip, decided it smelled pretty good, and so started eating it! Course that's on par, Keebler is such a food hound.

On Sun night, we were in the basement and it was my turn to play Metroid Prime. Mike was on the couch with his laptop and Keebler was chasing a fly. Keebler kept chasing the fly and randomly snapping at the air. One snap he actually caught the fly in his mouth but I don't think he realized he got it because he kept looking around for it. Then Keebler opened his mouth and it flew out of his mouth...LOL. Silly pooch, at least Quinn knows when he catches the flies.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Makinzi, very cute very cuddly

One of the foster homes had Easter plans and so we were snagged to foster Makinzi while they were out. We got her on April 3rd and she'll probably end up getting adopted this saturday. She's a small compact black lab who is 7 years old. The thing is she definitely does not act 7 at all. Before we looked at her folder, we thought she was 4! We took some photos of her I need to post because they were pretty funny.

She's a great dog. Housebroken, has some obedience and of course quite affectionate. She came from a home whose kids grew up and nobody really had time for her. Its really a pity because she's so easy and sweet, its difficult to think that someone would give her up. Makinzi seems very comfortable and is less "velcro-y" than our other foster dogs. She's happy to be near you, but if you're not paying her much mind (watching tv, working at the computer), she'll get up and wander around. Other foster dogs have often stayed as close to us as possible. She has no problems with laying on top of me when I'm on the couch and she'll sleep there while I read (or nap along with her). She has a great habit of coming up to you and just give you one cute little lick to say hi.

Its fun watching Makinzi entertain herself. She'll take a nylabone, toy, or tennis ball and start throwing it around the room and chase it. Then she'll settle down, start chewing on it and flip onto her back...while she continues to chew on the object! She'll use both of her front paws to stabilize whatever she's playing with and just hang out with her legs up in the air chewing away.

Monday, April 5, 2004

Patty Part 2

She's also a very nervous dog. She has no obedience training at all and we've been working on sit. We've noticed that when you grab her collar (even with no pressure), she drops like a stone to the ground. Also, if you try to guide her anywhere using her collar, she immediately balks and refuses to go anywhere. Its unfortunate, but watching her actions, it seems like she has been mistreated. If she feels threatened, she cowers, breathes hard, and is frightened out of her wits. This is when its something as simple as trying to coax her down the stairs!

She's also big into biting dog beds (or soft things). She's ripped a hole into one of our dog beds and we've had to correct her a few times when we catch her chewing on the dog bed. She's such a submissive dog, but she has some sort of passive-aggressive thing going on, because we've seen her hump the dog beds!

She needs a lot of affection and she needs to gain some confidence. She loves food, so using food has been a good way of gaining her trust and training her. She does need very affectionate (willing to be licked a lot) owners with patience to help her find that confidence. She'll probably stay in the system until she gets a little better. She's going to be harder than some of our other dogs, but she reminds me of Lady (our first foster, http://www1.mfischer.com/tiki/tiki-index.php?page=Lady). I think she just needs a little bit of TLC.

So she's already gone from the house for the vet to see her various lumps to make sure they aren't a problem. And she's already slated for a foster to adopt by a family that loves her. Since she has a few obedience issues, we're making sure the family really wants her by doing a foster to adopt. Hopefully this is the family for her!

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Patty Part 1

So Mike and I really miss Keebler, but since we weren't really ready to adopt him, its a good thing he moved. We didn't get much of a break before Patty came into our lives. We got Patty on Saturday 3/20. She's a small (65 lb) chocolate lab, approximately 5 years old. Her previous owners got a new puppy and thought she might accidentally sit or lay on the puppy, causing harm. I personally think they just got tired of her, or didn't like the way she was and decided to try again.

Patty is a very sweet dog who likes nothing better than to (literally) climb into your lap to be pet as much as possible. She loves to lick, especially the face and ears. Based on how she's thriving on attention, we guess she hasn't had much attention in the past.

She's a pretty low energy and she gets along fine with Sheba and Quinn. She's started to fetch tennis balls outside and she really enjoys it, but she's a bit out of shape. After about 4 or 5 throws, she'll lay down and chew on the tennis ball. We've taken her for a walk and she's not too bad on the leash. Sometimes she'll forget and pull a bit, but she's not a natural puller (except when she sees another dog).

We've been crating her during the day and night and she's fine after the first few barks and whines. As she's been getting more familiar with her surroundings, she's become more confident about being vocal, so when she wants attention, she'll bark. She's curious about absolutely everything! She'll follow anyone around and hangs out really close to you. We've found ourselves tripping over her a few times.

While she's not a hard dog in general, she has some issues that need to be worked out. We're not sure how housebroken she is. We think she might have spent a lot of time outside because she has such a rough coat, and she's constantly stinky (even after two baths). So we're keeping a really close eye on her and making her she gets positive reinforcement when she goes outside. So far its only been a few accidents inside, but she really needs reinforcement.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Time to move on

We got some mail from the foster home coordinator asking us if we wanted a break and needed to move Keebler. I knew it was time to move Keebler, since my first instinctive response to the mail was "No way, we really like him". So we're making travel plans for Keebler to move to another foster home who had him previously when Keebler was a puppy.

Still haven't heard from the vet about Keebler's lumps yet, but they will probably call us in the next few days. I'm not too worried since the vet said the lumps felt like fatty lumps, so there's probably only a slim chance that the lumps could be malignant.

I really enjoy having Keebler in the house. I think its been a while since we've had a dog this long. It doesn't help that he's so darn affectionate and has got great eyes. He won't move a muscle while you're petting him. All he needs is a home who will just shower him with lots of petting and kissing.

He's gotten pretty earnest about wanting to sleep on the bed. He'll rest his head on the bed just watching me, waiting for an invitation to come up. Since of course I'm so weak-willed, Mike has to call Keebler over to his side and make him lay down. That doesn't stop Keebler though. If I get up in the middle of the night, Keebler will hop over to my side of the bed and wait for the "Up" signal. Or if I don't get up, Keebler will usually bug me about 6am and I'll usually give in then and let him up for a few hours. It tough with 3 dogs though. I don't mind losing the space, but I don't think Mike enjoys it much. My only problem is losing the covers.

I'm going to have to try to get some extra photos of Keebler for my screensaver before he moves on to his next home. He's such an amazing dog, why do people give up such great dogs like him??

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Cat Dog

We've discovered that Keebler thinks he's a cat. A few days ago, we caught him washing his face with his paw! No kidding, at first we thought he was just licking his leg because it was bothering him, but then he used that leg to wash his face. He repeatedly would lick, wash, lick, wash. Very weird.

We had some friends over last week and one of them had a laser pointer. He randomly took it out and shined it in front of Keebler. Apparently Keebler loves this, because he started to chase the light and he had a ball. We've gotta see if we can find a laser pointer somewhere to entertain him because he still doesn't fetch balls at all.

Rubbing Keebler's belly last week, we discovered a lump right between his chest and belly, about where his legs are. The lump is about the size of a pea and a bit hard. Sheba has a lump almost in the same place and approximately the same size, and the analysis showed hers to be a fatty tumor (completely benign), we're hoping Keebler's is the same. We have to take him into the vet on Thursday evening to check and see if there are any problems with it. I hope not.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Food hound!

We were able to get some nicer pictures of Keebler, so I've posted them now. Although I think Keebler is always be a bit skittish, he's gotten more comfortable since he's been at the house for a while now. Unfortunately he seems to have either picked up two bad habits, or he's comfortable enough to now show those bad habits to us.

He's a barker, and he barks at almost anything and everything. Every morning, he stares out of our bedroom windows and barks at something; we have no idea if its real or not, but he has a heck of a bark. A squirt of water will usually calm him where he no longer barks, but whines pretty loud (he learned that one from Quinn).

Keebler is also a voracious eater, I think I've mentioned that before. He's such a counter surfer! Last night, he took the rest of Mike's chicken sandwich right from the counter when no one was paying attention. The unfortunate side-effect of that was that he was QUITE gassy the whole night! I hear it was pretty potent. I was lucky since Keebler decided to keep Mike and his friends company last night instead of hanging out with me, because I don't think I could have taken the exposure! :)

Keebler is still quite a very sweet dog. He does love affection and sometimes he'll sneak up on the bed at night which means we get stuck with three dogs and two humans on a king-size bed (not terribly comfortable). He's very food-motivated, so it was easy to crate-train him. Every morning as soon as we pull out the doggy treats, Keebler almost bolts straight into his crate so he can get them.

We have a potential adopter and her black lab coming to see him this Saturday. She's coming from York, PA so she's going to try to get all three of her visits in at once. She's supposed to be very doggy-crazy, so we're looking forward to her visit. I hope she and her dog will be a good match for Keebler, he really needs a great home that appreciates all his great personality traits!


Saturday, February 7, 2004

Sheba likes him!

Keebler had his first prospective parents come to visit last saturday. The adopters were checking three dogs that weekend, and already have a 10-yr old yellow lab, and a cat. I don't think they were too crazy about some of Keebler's antics. Surprisingly Keebler was very energetic while they were here, most of the time he's pretty mellow, and I think they might have been a little put-off by it. So Keebler is still here, digging further into our affections everyday, including Sheba and Quinn!

Starting less than a week ago, Sheba and Quinn have begun interacting with Keebler. That is surprising because after having so many foster dogs through here, they've become a bit more cranky and don't really play with the foster dogs. But Keebler and Sheba have starting playing chase (Sheba's favorite game) and have played a few times now. Keebler and Quinn have had barking contests, mostly because Quinn doesn't really know how to play with other dogs; whenever Quinn gets excited and wants to play he just starts to bark.

We're really enjoying Keebler in the house. He's so very affectionate, and loves to be pet, touched, and acknowledged. His funniest quirk is his habit to wriggling his backend so much that he walks towards you with both his head and his butt.

Keebler is still so very skittish and we're not sure why. I'm not sure what has caused it to happen, but sometimes if you walk too fast towards him or point something at him (like your finger), he bolts and won't come near you. We're hoping that he'll learn to become more confident over some time.

I can't wait to meet the perfect family who will love Keebler, because he deserves a great home!

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Keebler, cookie monster

So we've discovered one of Keebler's new talents today. This morning when my sister was getting ready for work, she decided she wanted cookies with her lunch. So she went into the pantry, pulled out three mint milano cookies and put them on a paper towel on the counter. As she turned away to put the rest of the cookies back in the pantry, we saw Keebler jump up and wolf down the three cookies. We chased him around the kitchen, but it was too late, he had chewed the cookies as fast as he could so there was nothing available by the time we caught up with him. The funniest part was when Jen went to get more cookies, Keebler looked so expectant as if he was waiting for her to give him more cookies!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Keebler, the chocolate elf

We got our first foster of the year last wed 1/21. Keebler is a 6 year old, 95lb beautiful chocolate lab. He originally came to LRR as a puppy and got adopted. Unfortunately his family had several children and were no longer able to spend time with Keebler, so they gave him back to LRR.

I gotta say that Keebler reminds me of one of our old fosters, Winston. Both of them were very large with beautiful brown colored fur, and both of them are extremely affectionate. If you're sitting down, Keebler will come right up to you and put his head in your lap waiting to be pet. He won't move his head at all while you're petting him. If you're standing up, he'll lean against you (warning: brace yourself!) and wait for a good butt scratch! When I picked up Keebler, Mike (husband) cuddled more with Keebler than with me!

I took a quick picture of Keebler with my phone camera which I'll post. As soon as I get more pictures of him, I'll post them up.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Sheesh, too many changes

So we were supposed to get a lab on Sat 1/10 after the yearly business meeting, but plans ended up changing. We were told that because there were more dogs coming into the system, it would be better for us to take in a new dog. That meant we would be getting Teddy, yellow 5 yr old, by the end of this week. Today we found out that we're getting even more dogs into the system. Since Teddy is such an easy foster, he'll be moving to a less experienced foster home. This allows the rescue to use the new foster home space and still keep a space open in our house for a different, possibly harder foster. So now we're expecting to get a new foster dog in the middle of next week. Currently our two love the peace and quiet with no foster around, but I'm looking forward to getting a new dog and learning about all of his funny habits and quirks.

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

History of Lab Obsession

I've always loved dogs growing up, but never really had my own until after college. A friend of my sister had a 1.5 yr old yellow lab which she could no longer care for, so I ended up taking her. Sheba was literally the perfect dog. She had been trained to stay off furniture, only go into rooms once she had permission, never begged, and was very docile. That wasn't going to work for me, so after a couple years of corruption, I finally turned Sheba into a total spoiled princess who hogs the bed, begs like a champ, and wins everyone over with her cute looks. She was the perfect dog for me!

I met my husband a few years later and Sheba won him over completely. After a couple more years, I was ready for a second lab, and after some time, Mike agreed. We applied to the Lab Rescue in MD (www.lrr.org) and after a very intensive application/interview process, we found Quinn, a 2.5 year old black lab mix. Sheba was the one who actually picked him out. When we went to the various foster homes, Quinn was the only one that Sheba interacted and played with, so we knew he was a winner. We adopted Quinn and currently our babies are 9.5 and 7.5 years old.

Approximately 2 years after we adopted Quinn, I was ready to get a third lab, but Mike put his foot down. We compromised by fostering for the Lab Rescue where we had gotten Quinn, and we've been fostering for 3 years now.

Its a wonderful experience. A lot of people ask us how we can foster a dog without growing attached, and the easy answer is you can't. Almost all of our experiences have been great, and we've grown attached in various amounts with each dog, but we're also able to let them go because of two reasons. First, we know the labs are going to great new homes where they will be cared for and loved. Second, if we adopted the fosters that come through our home, we wouldn't get a chance to meet new fosters, each with their own quirks and interests.

We've fostered approximately 15 dogs now, but I thought it might be fun to have a journal with new foster experiencing starting 2004. We get our first foster for the year on 1/10/03. A small chocolate girl named Carrie. Can't wait to see what she's like.