GROWING UP

It’s been a busy summer around here, especially with my two best friends from high school. You’ve met one of them briefly on here when I wrote about her gorgeous dog Kenji. Well, she’s getting married! We got to spend some quality time with Kenji yesterday after wedding dress shopping with his mama. It’s been so great to watch him grow up into a lovely gentlemen.

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More exciting news – my other best friend just adopted her foster dog from BARCS, Baltimore’s animal shelter! Ilana has never had a dog before and this new addition to her family has got me doing all sorts of happy dances. Dominic is the perfect dog for her, and I am so proud of her for adopting a pup in need of a home. She will be here with a guest post soon about what it is like to have a dog for the first time ever. Stay tuned!

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So we’re busy busy, and so grateful for this time spent with close friends – especially since catching up is usually extra dog related these days!

Are you all doing anything special this summer?



Preparing for a New Dog

Now that thing’s have settled down a bit (famous last words) it’s time to start thinking about a new foster dog. It’s been a while since I’ve had a foster, though the temporary pups have kept us nicely on our toes! I think we’ll be ready when the time is right to bring a new four-legged kiddo home.

I’ve gained so much new knowledge in the past few months that I think will really help me with my next foster, whoever it ends up being. There are others in my house, though, that have not learned quite as much as I have recently. Because shaping a dog into the “perfect” little household family member takes lots of consistency, I want to make it easy for everyone in my house to be on the same page. I wrote up a quick page of *things to remember* about having a dog that I think will help provide more structure for the new pup we bring home.  It’s not necessarily that these things alone will help a new dog learn manners, but following these simple steps as well as additional training will set the pup up to be the best she can be.

Here is our list that I posted on the hub of the household: the fridge! I’ll go through it first with my parents and then just leave it up there as a reminder or point of reference. I am really excited to see if this helps a new pup pick up on the rules any faster!  There’s nothing more confusing to a dog who is living in a house for the first time than mixed signals. . .  “but I was allowed on the couch last time!”

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If you or anyone you know is bringing home a new dog, along with a list of guidelines for everyone in the house to follow, I would recommend the books The Other End of the Leash and Love Has No Age Limits by Patricia McConnell. Both of them touch on the pointers on my own list as well as much, much more. Bringing a new dog home can and probably will be a stressful experience – being prepared can lessen that stress a bit!


Two Female Pit Bulls Walk into a Shelter. . .

. . . and are told they cannot be adopted together because same-sex pairs never work.

Here at Peace, Love & Fostering we are not a fan of stereotypes, strict guidelines, or inflexible restrictions that stand between finding a dog the perfect home. We believe in having a conversation with adopters, being open to trying new things, seeing what works for each dog as an individual, and using the things we observe to make judgement calls.

These two girlys were adopted into the same family about two years apart from each other.  Ayla, the sweet white dog, has been living with her new sister Gigi for around a month now and is loving her new life. They play together and snuggle and even share toys. Lucky Ayla for finding such a sweet spot to land!

 

 

 

 

Do you have two same-sex “pit bull” dogs in your family? We’d love to hear about it or even see some photos! Head over to the PLF Facebook page and upload your picture to our wall.

Have a great weekend, friends.


There’s a New Pittie in the Neighborhood!

When my next door neighbors came to me saying they were looking into adopting a “pit bull” dog, I was elated.  They are the kind of laid back people who don’t care about stereotypes and just wanted a nice family dog for their kids to grow up with.  They headed to our local shelter and, after a slow moving search, finally found a pup that seemed to be the perfect match.

After meeting many dogs, they settled on handsome Rojo (pronounced Ro-ho). Rojo had been overlooked at the shelter for months because of his nondescript, brown-dog look. Even though he behaved like a gentleman during visits, he never caught anyone’s attention. Until this family stopped by and gave him a chance.

Rojo now lives with two kids and has a huge yard that backs up to woods.  He seriously hit the jackpot with this family. They’re so willing to accept him for who he is, and they’re ready to learn whatever they need to for him to be the best dog he can be.

They lost their last dog about a year and a half ago, so naturally they are experiencing some, “Oh yeah, he’s not Scooter” moments, but they’re working through those. We all know how hard it can be to not try and replace our last pet, but to realize that the new one is an entirely new experience to fall in love.  I have a feeling that Rojo will quickly turn into another beloved fur baby just like his predecessor.

I’d like to ask you all for some advice on their behalf: Rojo is a pretty consistent submissive/excitable wetter.  Do you have any ideas for curbing/curing that for me to pass on to them? Thanks!


For a First Time Foster

For the longest time I was one of the only one of my friends to have a dog, but this weekend that changed. My best friend got approved to foster, and she brought her first dog home on Friday! My friend Sarah has never had a dog before, let alone a foster – so she is learning a LOT.  It’s almost hard for me to help her because there is just so much I want to explain to her.  So I turned to the real experts: you all! On the Peace, Love, & Fostering Facebook page I asked the question, “If you had to tell ONE thing to someone fostering/owning a dog for the first time, what would it be?” As I expected, you came up with thoughtful responses that were all great advice for a first time foster (or any dog owner, for that matter). Check out the wise words of wisdom:

–  Have patience. Lots and lots of patience. :)

– Patience.

– I recently fostered for the first time, an adult (not quite senior) male beagle. This is my advice: Don’t be surprised if it takes a dog a long time to get used to you. Some are shyer than others. Also don’t let the shyness fool you. :)

– It’s so worth it

–  Stay positive and give it time. Dogs are SO sensitive to negative energy; don’t get discouraged if things aren’t perfect right from the start. Give the dog time to settle in, and in the meantime, keep being kind and encouraging.

–  Educate yourself (with updated info) and learn as much as you can about dog body language and how they learn. It’ll come in very handy in helping you understand your dog/foster better.
–  Have patience! And don’t be afraid to ask questions!
– Read Patricia McConnell’s Love has No Age Limit. It breaks it down in an easy to digest way!
 
–  The anticipation of sending them off to their forever home is so much harder than the actual event.
– Patience!!!! It took mine 6 months before she would show her belly and truly be petted.. the first time she did I cried, I knew then she felt safe and loved. She was my foster failure! But my others were great and well worth it
– Exercise, exercise, exercise! A tired dog is a good dog :)
– Learn from your foster. Let them be themselves. My other foster failure.. Lol came to me from another foster home. They stated they cld not handle her. I got a 3 page letter about chaquita and not much of it was positive but I was going to let her, chaquita,.show me who she is. She was/is NOTHING like the dog described. She is my baby!!!
– Everyone is adjusting…not just you
– Routine and time. Dogs love routines, it will help them adjust and be less stressed. Also, it’s so tempting to get a new foster (or a new dog in general) and want to show them off and do everything and train everything. Don’t. They need time to just BE. Keep their world small for at least 2 weeks. Not too many visitors, not too much excitement, not too many road trips, etc. Let them learn to trust you (even if they are not a scaredy dog they need to learn to trust you!) and get used to their new environment.
 
– Don’t be afraid to stand up for your dog, even if it upsets other people. One of our dogs is reactive, and I needed to learn to give a firm NO to people who wanted to bring their dogs over for a greeting.
– You will sacrifice your time, your home,your health and your sanity and it will all be worth it.
– Training, training, training. And don’t be shy to ask for help if you’re not sure what to do next!
– Exercise, exercise, exercise. Exercise body and exercise mind. Tired dogs aren’t worried or bored. A tired dog is a happy dog.
As you can see, there are a few recurring themes. I think it is pretty clear that one of your best resources as a foster home are the people around you who have done it before! I’m so lucky to have this community of support, and I’m also thrilled to be here for my friend as she begins on the journey.

This is Jack (also known as Jack Rabbit, JackJack, or Jack Kennedy). He is about one year old and twenty pounds of total mutt. Stop by tomorrow to learn more about him and how his first weekend went!


Progress Makes “Perfect”

I’ve really driven home on this blog the point that Otis can be a bit co-dependent. That’s what I remembered him being from over the summer, and what was confirmed by his last owner when I took him back. After an independent Baxter, I was wondering what it would be like to have a shadow dog again. I had visions of him whimpering outside the bathroom door while I showered, getting stuck under my feet at every step, and showing separation anxiety when left alone.

What I wasn’t accounting for was adjustment, relaxation, and a mind at ease. These ingredients have brought out an entire new side of Otis from when he came to me six weeks ago.  I was able to enjoy and appreciate progress with Baxter every day, but for some reason I’ve been totally blind to how far Otis has come.  So I want to take an entry to celebrate Otis’ victories like he deserves.

While Otis still loves to hang out with me, he no longer needs to be attached to my hip. A big milestone he recently started enjoying is relaxing in the living room by himself while everyone is in the kitchen. He’ll also leave my room and walk upstairs to hang out with my parents if I’m not doing something entertaining enough for him. He’ll be that companion dog who will follow you from room to room and keep you company, but who won’t let the whole neighborhood know when you’re separated from each other in the house.

In the same vein, another thing that makes him a great dog is how well he does when alone. He just stays on the couch the whole time he is by himself. No chewing, no whining, no destruction. Just calm and patience, waiting for our return. It’s so relieving! It is especially nice to know that he can stay home all day while I’m at work and not bug my parents. In fact, they barely even realize he is around.

Otis has also become a “normal” eater – he gobbles his meals down, he is enticed by treats, and sometimes he even comes over to have a sniff of what we’re eating. For the first while, Honey barely touched his food, let alone treats. I was worried about him, but he has proven to be just as eager as the rest of the food motivated pups out there. Along with the food motivation has come basic obedience. His butt is on the floor as soon as he sees a treat in my hand; a scene much like the photo below. “I did it, now where is my reward??”

Finally, one of the biggest things I realized when I stopped to reflect on Otie’s first month was that the jumping has almost completely stopped. It was always Otis’ go to –  he would get excited, then hop his front paws on whatever was in front of him: a human, a couch, a bed. He was always bopping around. Now it seems he doesn’t even think about jumping up (with a few exceptions of over excitement, of course).

So no, he is not perfect – but every day he is becoming more calm, comfortable, and happy – and what else can we ask for? So many dogs get bumped from home to home because they are not given the chance to settle in.  Otis, just like Baxter, is a prime example of a dog who needs a little time and TLC before he becomes the best that he can be. But once they come out of their shell and show you their goofy and loving personality, you’ll be so glad you gave them that chance.

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.