City Dogs: Meet Max!

How perfect that I was asked to photograph Jasmine’s House adoptable Max downtown around the same time that I move to the city! I knew this would be a fun shoot as soon as I heard he lived with his foster mom on Capitol Hill. I spent all weekend moving in (more on that later!) and just as I settled in, I hopped on the metro to photograph Max Sunday evening.

If you live in the area you know that pretty much any day and time are vulnerable to thunderstorms this time of year. It’s been a hot, humid and wet start to the summer. Sunday was no different. For the whole day on Sunday Sam, Max’s foster mom, and I went back and forth about whether to brave the looming storms and do the shoot. We decided to go for it last minute – just as a storm passed through – and it actually ended up in our favor! The storms drove all the tourists away and for about thirty minutes we literally had the city to ourselves. I was in photo shoot heaven with the dark skies, empty streets and awesome DC landmarks in the background.

Max was a total sweetheart. He was happy to calmly walk up and greet me when I first met him and Sam. He lives as an only pet in his foster mom’s apartment, and, while he’s only about two years old, he is very low key in the house. She said he loves his long walks and just snoozing on the couch. He was full of personality during the shoot! We got some awesome shots thanks to how cooperative he was.

0301 05 1014 13 He is just a big goofball! He even won over DC’s finest:

12With such good looks and a personality to match, adopters should be fighting over this guy! I mean really, how can you resist this face or hunkin’ bod?

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Max and I agree – we love this city!

08To adopt Max the City Dog, fill out an application on the Jasmine’s House website.


My Ears & I Are Still Single!

Can you believe it? Sinclair, the perfectly behaved Jasmine’s House adoptable, is still looking for a home! I introduced him to the blog in early December when I watched him for a bit, and I spent a whole week gushing about how awesome he is. At about three years old, he’s at the age where you know what you’re getting (something I have learned to really appreciate).  He’s easy going, up for anything and described by his foster mama as, “The laziest foster dog I’ve had!” Doesn’t get much better than that, folks.

If his dazzling personality hasn’t won you over, let me remind you of two things that might (I’m referring to that pair of large things on his head that make him ridiculously adorable):

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Sinclair’s been a bachelor his whole life, but I think he’s ready to settle down and become a family dog. I know it will just take the right person (family) to come along and make him change his bachelor ways – perhaps someone who likes to hike, play ball and share toys – but that person is out there. Could it be you? Once he meets that person (family), his life will be changed forever as he realizes he wants nothing more than to leave his bachelor pad behind to move in with them! He might even reveal how much he loves to let them cuddle with him. Whoever steals Sinclair’s heart will be quite the lucky one – this guy is a total catch! (Must be why all the ladies want him so bad.)

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If you’re interested in adding this heart throb to your family, fill out an application on the Jasmine’s House website!


Helping Kobe Cope

Yesterday we celebrated two lucky dogs who were pulled by Bully Paws and are excelling outside of the shelter. I now want to share with you how Kobe’s story is progressing! Remember Kobe? He was the lucky brown “pit bull” dog who made it out of the shelter with Jasmine’s House after four months of waiting:

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Kobe was luckier than we realized when he left with Jasmine’s House that day.  The shelter took quite a toll on Kobe, and he developed severe anxiety by the time he got out. At his foster home he made it clear how much he hated being alone by doing some pretty serious damage the first day his foster parents left for work (anyone with dogs that have separation anxiety can relate to this, I’m sure).

Jasmine’s House and Kobe’s fosters immediately put a plan into action to combat his separation anxiety. It quickly became evident that Kobe didn’t need just the usual tricks to help his anxiety, he needed rehabilitation.  This would require lots of time, patience and dedication – which is exactly what his fosters & Jasmine’s House gave him.

Every day Kobe’s foster drops him off at Heather’s house (the foster coordinator for Jasmine’s House) before they go to work at 6:30 am. Kobe spends the day with Heather, and then gets picked up on his foster dad’s way home. Heather also happens to be Joanie’s foster! It turns out that those two are perfect for each other, and after spending a few days across baby gates and on parallel walks, they are now almost inseparable.

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Another doggy friend can really help dogs with separation anxiety – though it often doesn’t completely cure it. The regimen for Kobe is an intensive one, starting out with trips into the crate for only one minute or less. The point is to slowly build him up to where he can tolerate being alone for five minutes, and then thirty minutes, and then hours. This process can be very slow going, but it is essential for a dog who needs to learn that being alone is not the end of the world. For a more detailed description of crate training/combatting separation anxiety, I recommend reading Patricia McConnell’s book I’ll Be Home Soon.

Heather emailed me with a milestone just the other week: she went to walk one of her dogs for 40 minutes and when she returned, Kobe was fast asleep on his bed (next to Joanie in her crate). Then, I received another update that Kobe had been left alone for four hours and again, he was totally fine.  These are huge, huge victories for dogs like Kobe with such severe anxiety, and they were accomplished with consistency, patience and lots of hard work.

Kobe is no where close to anxiety-free yet, but he has come leaps and bounds in just a few short weeks.  He still does not like to be crated when left alone, and doesn’t appreciate tie-downs either – so he might be a dog who just won’t be able to stay in a crate. There are plenty of non-crate trained dogs out there; that’s not super important. But what is important is that Kobe doesn’t feel like he needs to totally lose his marbles when his humans leave – which it seems like he is learning.

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When he is not practicing being anxiety-free, Kobe is working towards his CGC!  Kobe participates in CGC class at Canine Lifestyle Academy, and he is quickly excelling with the help of his loving and dedicated foster parents.

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He lives with another female dog and six cats, who I hear he is getting along well with! So even as Kobe works on getting his ducks in a row in terms of anxiety, he continues to be the darling dog we know and love.  He is lucky to have so many dedicated people in his life willing to work with him instead of just throwing in the towel and saying he is too difficult. He is going to make a family very happy one day!

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Joanie, the little black pup, is available for adoption through Jasmine’s House rescue! Kobe is not available just yet, but he will be one day. If you’re interested in either, head to the Jasmine’s House website and fill out an application.


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.

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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!

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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.

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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.”

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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!


What’s a Dog to Do?

Poor Sinclair is just all worked up over this crazy weather! Here in Maryland we have experienced a total identity crisis for the month of December – this week it was in the 60s! What!? Sinclair just does not understand how he is strutting his stuff in the nice weather one day, and then bundling up for frost the next. What’s a dog to do!?

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Get dressed up in cute winter gear, that’s what:

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And then sulk about it because it’s embarrassing:

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Sorry, Sinny – guess you’re just going to have to get used to it!  We’ve got a long winter ahead of us. Hopefully a family will come along, scoop you up and snuggle you all winter long so you don’t have to wear any more embarrassing scarves.

If you are interested in adding Sinclair and his sonar ears into your family, email me at peacelovefoster@gmail.com or fill out an application on the Jasmine’s House website.


Competitive Cuddling

Didn’t you hear? There’s a competition for 2012’s Best Cuddler Award. I didn’t realize he was even in the running, but it seems Sinclair has been training very hard to make himself the best cuddling competitor possible.  Check out his training regimen while he was with me last week. . .

He starts by sneaking his way onto the bed in the first place, as a warm up.

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Then he slowly works his way closer to his cuddling object – usually the human – and curls up behind the often unknowing recipient.

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When he finally feels prepared and warmed up, he goes into full blown competition mode:

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He stays there for a while, practicing and practicing, until finally the cool down phase. This is where he stretches and lets loose a little after his tough cuddling workout:

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Gosh, cuddling is just such hard work – but I think he’s on his way to Cuddling Champion!

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If you are interested in adding Sinclair and his sonar ears into your family, email me at peacelovefoster@gmail.com or fill out an application on the Jasmine’s House website.


Can’t Live Without TOYS!

Hey ladies and gents. Sinclair here. J let me take over the blog to talk about the most important thing in my small little world: toys.  You see, I have a serious love affair with toys, as she mentioned during yesterday’s introductions. All kinds of toys: squeaky, rope, plush, plastic – you name it, I play with it.

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My version of playing is as follows: total and complete destruction. Yep, you heard me. I like to rip, shred, chew, and gnaw the toys I get my paws on.  Temporary-FosterMama (TFM) gave me a lobster rope toy, and like a true Mainer I started with the claws first.

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Now you might look at these incriminating adorable photos and think, “He is so destructive!”  BUT, think again – this sort of playing with toys is very good for me! Let me explain to you why.  First of all, giving me toys to chew on means that what I’m NOT doing is chewing on your shoes. The best way to prevent me (or whatever doggy) from chewing up things they’re not supposed to is to provide them with alternatives! I was so busy ripping the limbs off Mr. Lobster that the couch didn’t even interest me (not that it normally would because I don’t chew things I’m not supposed to, but to some dogs the couch and other non-edible things are simply deeeeelicious).

While I was deep in the La La Land of Squeaky Toy Destruction, TFM kept talking about this thing called in-rich-mint. TFM says in-rich-mint is something that makes my little doggy brain work and concentrate really hard on something. That is exactly what I do when I destroy toys: I lie there for hours meticulously ripping and pulling at my toys, planning exactly which piece of string to pick apart next. I work really hard to be the best Captain Destructo I can be. You give me a strong rope toy to work on and disassemble for thirty minutes and I am straight exhausted after that.  Like seriously, give me a NAP!!!

So next time you think toy destruction is a bad thing, think again!  It might be saving your pup from serious boredom – or, better yet, it might be saving your throw pillows from an unfortunate demise ;-)

Toy2If you are interested in adding Sinclair and his sonar ears into your family, email me at peacelovefoster@gmail.com or fill out an application on the Jasmine’s House website.