Happy Monday: Shelter Dog Updates

I feel like we all need some good news after the tragic events of last Friday. I’m a firm believer that when things get tough, you have to focus on the positive.  It just so happens that recently the “Happy Tail” (har har) updates have been rolling in from rescue groups who have pulled our shelter dogs, and I thought this would be the perfect time to share them with you.

I’m so lucky to have relationships with some of the rescues who pull dogs from us so that I get the occasional update. There is nothing that compares to seeing your favorite shelter dogs in a home with a family, no matter if it’s a foster family or forever family. The dogs are out of the shelter and finally getting the chance to be a loved family dog. Here are some no-longer-a-shelter-dog updates!

Patrice:

Patrice was at the shelter for about four months. She had so, so much energy and her obsession with tennis balls made it hard for her to make an impression on potential adopters. She literally wanted nothing more than to chase a tennis ball all day, ever day.

Patrice finally made it out through the rescue group Bully Paws. One of their foster homes came forward to pull a dog from us (we LOVE those), and they chose Patrice. They have other dogs and a massive fenced in yard where she will be able to run as much as her little heart desires. I took this photo the day Patrice left. This is her with one of our volunteers, Les, who, along with many others, has worked with her every day for the last four months. The smiles on both of their faces say it all – it was a huge victory for everyone the day she got out of the shelter for good.

Patrice

Bully Paws recently sent me this update from Patrice’s foster family. It’s always so hard to predict how dogs will act once they leave the shelter, and hearing that they’re settling right in makes us do all sorts of happy dances.

“Hello, the last couple of days have been a thrill to both Pablo and myself. Patrice is a REALLY sweet little girl. She is still a bit frightened esp of loud noises and her little tail goes between her legs when she hears a dog barking while on our walks. In the yard she will run and play but the moment she sees me walk away or turn to do something else, she will drop her ball and come follow to ensure she is not left behind. She seems to be MOST interested and really enjoys walking along with one of my others (her tail goes up and wags and she holds her head up high while she tries to stay right by their side). She definitely wants to be a part of the pack and seems eager to please each one of mine and their particular personalities (she was part of a particular play group at montgomery and sure she must be missing them a bit).  We are introducing really slowly using baby gates. Patrice has her own room where we set up her crate. The crate door is left open and she goes in herself and curls up to sleep. We did have two accidents the first day she was here (right in front of the door as if she knew where she was supposed to be going). I soon realized that when we take her out into the yard she is so excited to be outside and to run and play that she doesn’t stop to pee (I have another that does the same and who is also ball crazy).  So now we walk her into the yard on a leash before she plays and then before we go in, and she gets lots of praise for going pee outside. Patrice is a very finicky eater and eats just a teeny bit at a time (its shocking to me bc of the amount my other three eat). Tonight is probably the first good amount of food she’s had since being here. But she also got lots of exercise today so she had a good appetite. Most of all, she LOVES to run of her leash and play ball!”

This is a photo of Patrice, the dog who couldn’t settle down in the shelter, in her foster home. Doesn’t she look content? Hooray Patrice!

Patricenew

Peanut (now Wilbur):

Peanut was at the shelter this summer. I fell in love with him because he was this adorable little compact pittie with a crooked tail and the cutest little face.

peanut

Bully Paws pulled Peanut from us as well. He is actually now in his FOREVER family, and that is the amazing email update we got:

“Wilbur (formerly Peanut) is awesome. Our obedience instructor loves him. He is so smart that it is hard not to teach him more than what is scheduled for the class each day. We have decided to keep Wilbur in school until he can earn his good citizens certification. The wife and I truly feel lucky to have him. Wilbur gets along great with our elderly basenji (15 years old) and sleeps at night on the foot of the bed with his feline friend (who thinks he is a dog as well). In the morning, when its time to give Tybalt the basenji his daily medicine, all three line up, sitting in a row next to each other. All get something. Wilbur sleeps whenever he is in the car and typically doesn’t get up until the car has stopped. He will jump in the tub for a bath even when it’s not his turn. He loves him some soccer ball. People who know this breed readily come up to us to meet him and talk about their pits. Always a funny story to share. Wilbur has been great to say the least.”

peanut2

These are two dogs you haven’t met (though hopefully you still loved their stories). Tomorrow I’m going to update you on the story of a dog I introduced a few weeks ago that Jasmine’s House pulled: Kobe. He has come a long way in the few short weeks he’s been out of the shelter, and it’s all thanks to his foster family and Jasmine’s House. Check back tomorrow for another happy tail!

Patrice and her tennis ball-loving smile are available through Bully Paws!



Puppy…. Love?

Do you all remember my best friend Sarah and her first foster dog, Jack Rabbit? Well he got adopted after only two short weeks! Sarah very quickly got to experience the joy and heartbreak of getting a foster pet adopted. She, like me, missed her furry friend when he went to his forever home, but was excited to have her care free life back.

I was really proud of her when she started talking about fostering again (specifically I was happy that the first experience didn’t scare her away for good!). We talked a little bit about the next dog she would take, but then all of a sudden she texted me a photo of a puppy. I knew there was no way that Sarah in her right mind would agree to foster a puppy, so I asked what dog that was. Sure enough, she had volunteered to foster a three month old beagle mix from a West Virginia shelter that lost power during the hurricane.

After I did a quick mental check over to see if she’d totally lost her sanity, Sarah explained to me how she planned to handle said puppy. She has a very flexible work schedule and can even bring little dogs into work, so that covered the supervision issue. She immediately went to PetSmart and bought a whole bunch of puppy supplies including food, puppy pads and lots of chew toys, followed by her “puppy proofing” the apartment. She armed herself with lots of treats and a crate and set out to teach the puppy boundaries and manners. This time around, the puppy is not allowed on the bed and must sleep in his crate – two things Jack got away with.


She admitted to me that the first couple hours were extremely stressful, and she wasn’t sure if she could keep it up. I told her she’d had it easy with Jack because, in general, the first day or so of having a new dog is very full of, “Oh shit, what was I thinking?” thoughts.  But Sarah had a talk with her roommate, Natalie, and Natalie convinced Sarah to stick it out for a few more days, offering to help care for him. Together they would make it work and get him adopted.  Besides, after only a few hours of being in their apartment he began to settle down (and then bounce around, and then settle, and then bounce. . .).

To me their harebrained scheme sounds totally crazy – but they seem to be doing just fine so far.  The puppy’s name went from Spencer to Lincoln to I think they’ve settled on Sinatra, and he is happily living it up puppy-style in their apartment. I can almost surely say that Sarah will not be fostering a puppy again for a very long time, but for now she is learning what it takes to care for, teach and love a little wiggling three month old bundle of energy and fuzz. In her own words, he is “the love of her life and the bane of her existence.” Ah, puppies.

If you’re interested in adopting this sweet guy, email me at peacelovefoster@gmail.com.



Who you calling ‘Less Adoptable’!?

Petfinder runs a promotion in September called “Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet-Week.” They highlight pets who have factors that make them seem less adoptable for whatever reason: they have a disability, they’re old, they’re different, etc. According to Petfinder, Joanie should have the odds stacked against her because she is black, a pit bull dog, and a little older. The funny thing about it is that I think Joanie’s one of the most adoptable dogs I’ve ever fostered! I appreciate Petfinder’s efforts here, but labeling Joanie as “less adoptable” gives off the impression that she’s got something wrong with her, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Joanie would like everyone to know that her black fur might be dark and have some scars, but it’s soft and it loves a good scratch just like any other color. Joanie would also like everyone to know that her older age (only about five) gives her maturity, grace and wisdom that her puppy friends don’t have. Furthermore, Joanie would like to tell everyone that the fact that she’s got short, stubby appendages, some muscles hidden under all those curves, a big, blocky head, and cropped ears does NOT mean she is different from other dogs for any reason other than her own individual personality. She would appreciate it if you judged her by what you know about her, rather than what her looks might lead you to believe. And what you know about her (after reading this blog, at least) is that she is as sweet as honey and a total love bug!

So nobody around here is “less adoptable” than anyone else. Unique? Sure. Special? Definitely. Different? You bet. But if you ask me, those traits mixed with her stellar personality are all reasons why Joanie is SUPER adoptable.

“I am Joanie – a black, middle-aged, “pit bull” dog – and I am super adoptable.”

For more info on adopting Joanie, email me at peacelovefoster@gmail.com or fill out an application on the Jasmine’s House website.


Costumetastic!

I never realized all those times I dressed up my foster dogs that I was really on to something: adopters love dogs in costumes! Silly outfits give a dog the appearance of having a sense of humor, and who doesn’t want a funny dog?  Animals also stand out so much more when they are wearing a costume. This is most valuable on adoption sites where you have hundreds of little thumbnails to go through and the ones you’re likely to click on are the ones that have lots of color or something else unique about them.  Ever wonder how to cure “black dog syndrome”? Stick a rainbow collar on them!

These shelter adoptables have been my costume guinea pigs with a new batch of outfits I just ordered. Photographing dogs in costumes is a tough feat – especially when they are shelter dogs with lots of pent up physical and mental exercise (“fabric! yay! time to chew!”). You have to be very quick with your camera, and get a patient person to help you. Then, if you’re lucky, you’ll get some halfway decent shots amongst the chaos.

Then sometimes you get the as-close-to-perfect-as-you-can shot, and those make it totally worth the patience. Seriously – who can say no to a dog wearing a tuxedo, pig outfit, dress, or monkey suit?

In case you’re wondering, everyone’s looking for forever homes but the piggy.  Tig the Pig has already been adopted – hooray!

Happy Friday!


Agility on the Playground

The best part about building a dog’s confidence is that it’s usually fun for the dog AND owner! Most recently, Otis and I ventured back to our neighborhood playground for some work on the idea that “new things are fun!” Similar to agility, getting Otis to go up and down and up and down the playground steps helps to teach him that he can in fact try new things and nothing bad comes from it.

Here are some videos of Otis totally rocking the jungle gym! Not only did he quickly get over worrying about the steps, he even warmed up to the slide! This first video is of him making it over the whole thing in one try.

Then, just for kicks, I asked him to go back UP the slide – and he did it! I was surprised about that because it wasn’t something I’d helped him practice before, and it certainly wasn’t easy to do. But he just barreled right up it.

He LOVED playing on the playground! I really think he would rock agility if given the chance – something to put on my to-do list. I guess in the mean time we’ll just go around conquering all the playgrounds in the area. No complaints here!

For more information on adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, go to his Adopt Me page to learn more about him and how to get in touch.