Monday, April 2, 2012

Seriously guys???

One of my many trash pick up days
Over the past few weeks I have invited a trash attacking canine demon into my home.   I'm not completely sure who it is - in fact, I think this demon may be teaching other dogs in the house to topple the juiciest and nastiest trash over on to the kitchen floor.   I can tell you who it isn't - it is NOT Hopper, Cooper or Charlie and the only reason I know that is because I keep them separated in a different area away from my cat.     You understand the point of demon dogs toppling over trash cans, don't you?  They're not just wanting to see the different items in the trash.   Nah, they then drag the nasty, dirty trash to every corner they can reach.    And if they become particularly attached to a piece of trash, they will definitely pee on it.   SCREAAAAAMMMM     Over the weekend I was in a huge cleaning frenzy and I had to run to the grocery store for a few supplies.   I completely forgot about the trash and when I came back they had spread it all over the place.   But this time, there was a pouch of spoiled dog food in the trash that someone drug into my room.   EEWWWW   that was one of the sickest smells in the world and it took me the rest of Saturday and all day Sunday to get rid of it.   I had found the empty pouch quickly enough, but rancid smells are not easy to erase.   I burned a candle, mopped, laundered my bed clothes, sprayed air freshener, etc, etc.

Since I began fostering, I quickly learned to keep the trash can up off the floor.   Often times I don't even know when I have a trash attacker as a foster because they generally can't reach the trash can.   Only when they go on to their forever home do I hear about their Oscar the Grouch tendencies.    I foster small dogs so I can use a chair or a stool or something similar to keep the trash safe.   Right now, this is not working.   I've tried blocking the trash can by shoving it between my refrigerator and wall and added a barricade for good measure.   Did that work?  Nope     The past few days we've decided to sequester the trash can in the bathroom, in the bathTUB with the door closed.    Worked perfectly!!   For a couple of days, that is.    Tonight when I came home - the bathroom door was open and a good part of my shower curtain was destroyed as someone was desperately trying to get to the yummy delicious trash.   Wait a sec ... other than my shredded shower curtain it WAS a success because they didn't get to the trash, right?  (Just the shower curtain)

Yes, I am frustrated.   Yes, I'm even pissed off.   And, yes, I'm at my wit's end.  But you know what?  I'll figure it out.   I have made a promise to these dogs - not just our permas, but our foster dogs and a dog we're dog sitting for an indefinite period of time.    This is not a casual decision and I think that's what frustrates me so much about people giving up on dogs too quickly.    I was emailing with a friend of mine who adopted one of my most difficult fosters and she was telling me that she does second guess her decision to adopt a couple of dogs at times but her commitment to her dogs and our organization is too great for her to to do anything but keep on keeping on and loving these little guys.    Thanks Robin!!

It's a tricky situation to be annoyed by because we don't want our foster dogs to live a miserable life and be disliked because of their behavior.   We just want them to be given a fighting chance.   It's funny I think our society gives up on marriages and rescued animals too easily.    There's probably some wonderful tidbit in there for a therapist to get a hold of and cure me of all my nuttiness.   But until then, I'll watch out for my son, myself and our diggie dog zoo.

Why the tulip picture?  Because it's spring and tulips are one of my favorite flowers (pink one specifically) and I took the picture.   AND it's purty.  :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Suzie and Tina hiding until all the dachshunds are gone :)
It's been a little over a week since I've been over my personal limit of dogs and I'm a little at my wit's end.   I know exactly the number of dogs I can handle and once we go past that, I can't keep up with anything.     It just so happens that Charlie was returned and that forced my hand.   It's an unwritten rule in fostering that, if at all possible, a returned dog goes back to the original foster.   Of course, if I had told the head of our grou I absolutely can not do it she would have found another place for him.    But knowing a dog is being returned and their little heart is already broken, it makes me feel better to know they'll be in a familiar place with people that love them.     And Charlie is doing great, so I believe I made the right decision.

Tonight I came home to the trashcan dumped over - everything in the trash (and it was a FULL bag) drug around the house, torn up, peed on and just a HUGE HUGE mess.   This was especially frustrating because I thought I had figured out how to block the trash can off from the dogs.   Apparently I was completely wrong.   They also got into my pantry and pulled out a couple of potato chip bags ate those up and tore the aluminum foil box up, causing the foil to roll across the floor.      It took me about 15-20 minutes to clean up this mess after walking through the door.   That sucks - ready to finally just chill a little bit at the end of a work day and to be faced with that crap.   ugh ugh ugh ugh   If I hadn't felt overwhelmed earlier today, I definitely would be by now.

I'll be glad when it gets a little warmer because not all of the dogs will want to sleep in my bed.   The nights that JTK is at his Dad's house are just miserable sleeping wise.    There are a couple of dogs in the house (and I'm not naming names!) who have zero human bed manners.   I can move them all I want but they dash back to whatever spot they particularly want and it almost always means taking up the place where I want to sleep.nnnDinnertime and breakfast time are quite a battle too.   Certain dogs have to be kept  separate, each dog has to be given the perfect amount for their particular nutritional needs and one certain little difficult dog can not be allowed near any of the other dogs until their kibble is all gone.     When mealtime is over I'm always relieved that every dog has a full tummy and no fights were started.   ::sigh::

TRe waiting for a spot to steal during the night
Someone needs to be adopted and quickly!   I have to be careful or else I'll be paying people to take one of these dogs off my hands!  haha   Just kidding ... a true statement though would be that I need to make sure I'm careful on who adopts one of my fosters and I don't talk myself into thinking I've found a perfect home just to lose some stress.    I recently received an email from someone  interested in Charlie but they were really concerned about housebreaking issues.    After he was just returned for housebreaking issues, I have to make sure he doesn't come back for that reason.   So I'm probably going to make things sound even worse than they are.

JTK is at a higher bit of a stress level too because he has to help me with all of the chores associated with the dogs - all the while making sure not too many dogs are outside at one time and that the ones that are still inside aren't TOO obvious.   It is totally exhausting right now and Joe, in true 13 year old fashion, tells me daily that we have too many dogs.   I'm one of those people that I can know something and be handling it somewhat ok, but to have someone else vocalize it sends me into frenzy mode.  :-)

Heidi may possibly come back due to biting, but her original foster has already said they'd take her back.  If I had to face the thought of taking in another dog right now I would probably have a complete breakdown.

Send some dachshund lovers my way to get Charlie or Danny adopted!!!  :-)

Beautiful Charlie

Monday, March 26, 2012

Doxie Boy Twins

With Charlie back in the house, it's almost impossible to tell he and Danny apart.   They look so much alike it's spooky.     It didn't help matters that even before Charlie came back JTK and I would often mistakenly call Danny ... Charlie.  :)   They're both about the same age but they have very different personalities.   Danny is a little more fun loving and carefree where Charlie is more serious and intense.  The one thing they have in common is that they're incredibly beautiful dachshunds. 

We went to the adoption event on Sunday and they are a handful together.   They both get stressed out and then they feed off on each other's stressful energy.   Luckily I had JTK with me or I would have never made it through the few hours we were there.   Isn't that picture of dramatic Danny hilarious?

Charlie looking VERY handsome
Charlie is doing much better - he started perking up as soon as he saw Joey last Tuesday.   Last Monday Joe was at his Dad's house so when Joe came home on Tuesday it was a sweet little reunion.   I've come tot he conclusion that Charlie needs to be in a home with other dogs.  He has done incredibly well with housebreaking since he's been with the other dogs.    Even though he's doing better, he's not fully confident and I think that's causing some behavior issues.    He needs a quiet home, with other dogs and the people definitely need to be savvy about dachshund behavior and attitude.   Dachshunds are truly a unique breed - they're sweet and affectionate but they're also stubborn, overly protective, and incredibly prey driven.    Charlie is being kept with Hopper and Cooper in the area of the house where he can't get near my cat, Roscoe.    Today I came home, after being gone almost 11 hours.   How can a dog hold it that long and yet crap right in front of someone?   Because he was apparently showing his displeasure about something.

Say a little prayer for Suzie tonight.    The past few weeks, her COPD has gotten more noticeable again.   Tonight she doesn't seem quite herself.    She's been lying quietly on a couch pillow all evening - which is a little out of character.   She has eaten snacks and barked a little bit, but she always lies back down. 

Silly Joe with Suzie and Tina's ear :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Return To Foster (Instead of Sender)

Sad Charlie  :'-(
I had a foster returned yesterday, sweet Charlie, the awesome standard dachshund who was adopted a few months ago.      On  Monday morning I got an adamant text that Charlie was not allowed to stay in his home one more night.   They were having housebreaking issues and for some reason this came to a head on a Monday morning while I was at work.    Even though we just had a weekend where I was totally available, he suddenly had to leave Monday.   I was so aggravated - nobody wants a foster returned but it's really frustrating when people forget this is a volunteer situation and we sometimes need a little consideration.    At one point I asked "Why didn't you tell me Sunday" through text and I got a barrage of how this couldn't possibly be considered inconvenient if she was willing to come to my house.   Well, I have a little rule about telling people my address when they get all psycho on me.  :-D

One unfortunate thing I've learned when a person decides to return a dog they often have to demonize that dog in their mind to justify why they're giving up on them.   This dog has to be the WORST dog in the world so they're completely rational to return them.   Of course, when a dog is even close to this status in a person's mind I don't want them anywhere near that person.   And while I had every intention of making sure Danny was under a loving roof by nightfall, I wasn't going to help her feel ok for what was being done.     Is it terrible of me to be totally amused to know the straw that broke the camels back is that Charlie looked her right in the eye and dropped a big steaming poop on her carpet?

After all the drama was said and done I picked Charlie up last evening.    Of course, the person was 30 minutes late ... of course they were!    I'm sad to say he's a different dog.   He's not nearly as loving and carefree as he was when he was adopted.   My friends have reassured me that he'll come around and I sure hope they're right.     And I hope it's sooner rather than later.  This may not make sense, but not only does he duck when we go to pet him but he also seems frightened to show emotion.   He seems shutdown - not just depressed and his little voice is hoarse as well.    I was getting scared he had been debarked, but a good friend of mine pointed out he probably was kept someplace that he felt the need to bark.   Not good, but better than being debarked.  :-(

Returns happen quite frequently in rescue - sometimes they come back the next day, sometimes a few months and sometimes a few years.    Our group received a dog back that was adopted out as a puppy a couple of years ago and has come back as a frightened and unsocialized dog.   How heartbreaking ... Another dog came back after about a week in her new home right after recovering from leg surgery.    We really are glad they come back to us - in fact that's part of our contract.    If someone adopts one of our dogs and turns them into a shelter for euthanasia or because they don't want them anymore we can sue them for breach of contract.   We want the dogs back - we want to know they're safe and they're loved - but at the same time we don't want a failed adoption.

Danny and Charlie - brothers from another mother
I feel horrible about Charlie.  I feel like I let him down - like I should have known this would happen.   I did all the background work I'm supposed to do, they lived in a nice area, the husband was an Iraq war veteran, they had two lovely kids,  the husband was raised with dachshunds, and the wife didn't work but went to school.    Sounds perfect ... obviously not.        I've let Charlie down and I've let down the people he used to live with that trusted me to find a good home for him.      The funny thing is Charlie will probably forgive me far sooner than I'll forgive myself.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mackie Has a New Home

Somewhere Out There   .... that's always the song I think of when a foster leaves that I have particularly loved.     Saying good bye to Mackie was tough ... tougher than I thought it would be.   I try to explain to myself why some foster's adoptions cause a torrent of tears.    Linda, in our group, said it best today when she said "Mackie's just special."

She has a boy doxie to boss a whole bunch of people to love her - I think her life will be wonderful and she'll forget me probably before my tears even dry.    And I have shed a lot of tears about Mackie today.     JTK has even asked me a couple of times if I'm ok and willingly gave me a hug - what a good kid he is. 

I haven't cried this hard about a foster in a long, long time and there's no way around it - it really sucks.   I've been thinking about it and I realized that I had intentionally changed the "type" of foster I had been choosing.    More often than not, I've been choosing fosters I thought would get adopted quickly because the longer I have them, the sadder I am to see them go.   

Mackie was with us for 5 months - shit that's close to 3.5 years in a dogs life no wonder I'm sad.

Happy life to Mackie and her new family - she deserves the best life and love has to offer her. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mohawk Mackie

My sweet little beloved foster, Mackie, has two people interested in her.     Tonight I called a really nice woman on the way home to talk to her and after I got off the phone I had to shed a few tears.  I really think Mackie is going to be finding a new home soon.     She's had so many people interested in her lately and the reason she didn't go home with them had more to do with me than with them.   However, when you talk to someone that sounds like they already have affection and empathy for a little dog they haven't even met ... it would be nearly impossible to say  no to them.   IF ... they decide to adopt her.   This household also has a male doxie named Henrick - Mackie does love her own breed!!

Just the other day JTK told me that maybe we should think about keeping Mackie because of how attached I've become to her and she to me.   The truth is, I simply do not have room for one more dog to keep as a perma.   I am completely at my limit - you have to start saying no sometime as a foster Mom.    :)    And I've said no a lot - I have to.   It's only when I start reach the 6 month point of having a foster that I have a little harder time with it.   I know it's the right decision, though, because I saw about 15-20 pictures of dogs today that need a foster home.   And we all know that isn't even the tip of the iceberg.    If Mackie finds a home, then I have room in my home for another foster.

I will miss this little girl with all my heart, though.   She's one of my favorite kind of fosters - one with a huge attitude, a lot of spirit and far from perfect.   I seem to bond with the foster dogs that have faced so much adversity and unhappiness in their lives yet they still manage greet each doy with  joy and abandon, without a care in the world.   Truth be told, I wish I could be more like these little warriors of life.   In this picture, you can Mackie's torn little ears - probably from years of having to endure fly bites with no relief or treatment.

We got some amazing news about Mackie about a month ago.   Our group has some extra funds and we had a number of XRays done on her to see why she has her crazy little walk.    It turns out our little girl was born with a BUNCH of crazy bones.   Her back legs are bowed, her knee sockets aren't quite aligned correctly, she has bowed ribs and she literally has a crooked spot in her spine.    All of these things contribute to why she walks very unconventionally.    Like any other dachshund, she does have a chance for disc issues and arthritis.    But for now, she's perfectly fine.    She's not in any pain and is she ever mobile!    Once again, these imperfections of such a sweet girl make her just ideal in my eyes.

And of the best things about Mackie is such a little clown   Every night around 9:00 she decides she needs to race around the house and gather as many toys as she possibly can.   Even better, if Cooper the big schnoodle of the house is in her way then she can bully  him and scare the crap out of him.   I literally almost peed my pants last night watching her chase Cooper around the house.   Here's a picture of him cuddling up to him, so you know she really loves him.   And he tolerates her like a naughty little sister.  

Everyone say a little prayer for Mackie that she finds a home this weekend and pray for me to have the insight to find the best home for her and the knowledge that saying goodbye is the only option.

I tried to get a good picture of Mackie's Mohawk because she definitely has a mohawk ... that's because this little girl is a rebel and unstoppable!!  In fact she's on the floor having a fit right now because I won't pick her up ... but every time I do she stomps on the laptop keyboard and ruins my blog.  :)  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How to Decide on a Home ...

One of the things I've learned in fostering is to really follow my gut instinct about a situation.    There have been times that I've gotten an application on a foster and everything looked perfect on paper.    It *should* be the best home for a foster dog, but there's something that makes me not want to adopt out to that person.     There have been a couple of times that I didn't listen to that gut instinct and came to regret it - luckily it wasn't a situation that couldn't be resolved.   Both times the dog came back to our group but I did feel a lot of guilt about allowing them to be in a home that I had misgivings about.     I always listen to that little voice these days - whether it's because someone uses a training method I don't believe in or if it's the tone of voice someone uses that I don't like, I can tell when I don't feel comfortable with my foster being adopted by someone.

Luckily I mostly get a really good feeling from someone - either in their emails, through a phone conversation or after meeting them in person.   It's hard to explain exactly what I'm talking about but there are little signs that are almost a certainty that this person will be a wonderful human for a foster that they're asking about.     A lot of times it's just being able to have a conversation with someone and hearing the sincerity in their voice and feeling comfortable with the exchange.

Debra contacted me last Friday about adopting Trooper - at first there was some discussion about her possibly fostering for the group.   But by Saturday she was completely smitten with the little guy and all thoughts of fostering had turned to adopting the little guy.     There were a couple of things that Debra did that made me feel  she would be a good home for Trooper.    First of all she called him "Lil Man" - when someone has a tendency to use little terms of endearment for a dog I like them instantly.   The other thing she did was send me a picture of her beloved dog, Sammy, she had recently lost.    When someone loves their dog so much they want to share pictures and stories, then they are definitely someone who I can trust.  

I've heard from Debra and things sound wonderful for she and Trooper.    I am so happy for the both of them - sometimes dogs and people find exactly who they  need in this lifetime.     I think Debra will help Trooper heal and recover from the trauma of the injuries and experience of his accident and I think Trooper will bring Debra a lot of love and joy.

This is her beloved Sammy, and I know he's playing over the Rainbow Bridge thankful that he had a  wonderful human in this world in Debra.     Thank you to people like Debra who love their furry family and help our group continue to save more dogs when they open their heart by adopting one of our fosters.