Guess Who’s Here!

I have a house guest for the week! Does this big guy look familiar?

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That’s right. Otie is hangin’ with us for the week while his dad is out of town. He’ll be bouncing back and forth between my house downtown and my parents house in the ‘burbs since it’s a lot of work to hide him from my landlord keep track of him while I’m running around all weekend. I was pretty nervous bringing him to my house because he can be barky and anxious and I didn’t want to drive my roommates nuts, but he’s actually done really well! And my roommates are enjoying having a dog around.

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It’s nice having him around again. I missed him! He’s also still perfect when I bring him to work (whew!). photo 05 photo 04

I’ll tell you guys about how the week goes. We have some adventures planned for this weekend (shocking)!


Catching Up With An Old Friend

I never realized how much I would appreciate adopting one of my fosters out to someone who lives locally and who ended up becoming a friend to me. The day Johnnie went home I was so bummed that I’d just given away my best friend. That afternoon I got a text from Otis’ dad saying he got stuck at work for longer than expected and if I wanted a canine pick-me-up could I swing by and take Otis for a walk. Um, yes please!!!

It’s no surprise that Otie’s goofy grin and complete bat sh*t crazy hurricane greeting immediately put a smile on my face. You never realize how much you miss ‘em until they’re back! We went for a relaxing walk along the Potomac River, soaking up the evening air. It felt so good to just be hanging out with my buddy again.

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Then this past weekend I learned that R had gone on a day trip so I asked if he wanted me to walk Otie again. He told me his neighbors were feeding Otis and letting him out but he’d probably love to go for a walk! It was a gorgeous Friday afternoon so I scooped him up and headed to Virginia to meet Mark. We recently discovered another great path along the Virginia side of the Potomac and we quickly escaped weekend rush hour traffic to find our secluded spot. It was perfect. Otis and Mark actually seemed to enjoy each other’s company since Otis was able to relax, run around a little bit and warm up to Mark.  As you can see we also enjoyed cooling off in the river!

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04 07 06 05I am happy whenever my fosters get adopted to the perfect home, but it’s just so great when they go somewhere that lets me see them this often!


He’s Baaaaaack!

Otis is back at the PLF household – BUT only for two weeks while his dad is out of the country! Yep, it’s only temporary. Did I scare you!? Sorry. It’s nothing but happy reminiscing and catching up here for the next week and a half until R comes back from Thailand (I know, right). My parents and I love it! It’s like we picked up right where we left off in August. He’s already fallen victim to dressing up in my festive costumes. . . :-)

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So he’ll pop into our posts every once in a while for the next few weeks. We’re hope you’re as happy to see him back as we are!


The Lows and Highs of Dog Rescue

It’s pretty obvious what the biggest highs and lows are in dog rescue: life and death.

Now that all the major time-consuming projects of my year are behind me, I’m slowly looking into fostering again (I know what you’re thinking.. “Finally! We’re bored!”). I’ve had my eye on this one dog in our shelter for months now. She came in as a stray with her sister, and immediately became a staff and volunteer favorite. She was the little grey one featured on our FOX5 Morning News segment.

Yesterday, Mark and I headed into the shelter to meet with her. She won us over, but her very low weight was a red flag for Mark. After talking it over with our medical staff, I learned that they were concerned as well and had already planned to send her out for blood tests.  Mark and I decided to wait for the results of the tests to make any decisions.  We never got that chance though, because the results immediately concluded she was in renal failure. The vet said there was nothing we could do.  They ended her suffering only a few hours after we played with her in the yard. It broke everyone’s hearts, especially those who spent so many hours loving her over the last few months.

There was nothing we could have done to help her, but that news ruined my whole day.  I needed a pick-me-up, and stat.  I knew just who to turn to:

After getting the news about the pretty pittie girl, I almost immediately called up Otie’s owner.  I needed to see the big slobbery smile that was Otis.  We’d been sort of trying to set up a visit in the last couple weeks anyway, but it had never worked out. R, being the awesome adopter that he is, said to come right over.

Last time I went to visit Otis, only three weeks after he was adopted, I was pleasantly surprised at how excited he was to see me. But just like last time, my expectations of the same type of happy reunion were not too high this time around. It’s been about three months since I’d seen him last, and three months is a plenty long time for him to forget who I am.  I was just excited to see his happy face, recognition or not.

Otis was waiting for me in the garage and as soon as I got out of my car I had a whirlwind of fur, tongue, and tail flying around me like tornado.  Otis acted like every other time he’s seen me after five minutes a long time: like it was the best day ever.  For a solid ten minutes, we had an exuberant reunion.  I felt like a little kid bouncing around getting kisses and avoiding his over-eager advances to give me a big bear-hug style Otis greeting.

It was exactly what I needed. Any happy dog would have helped cheer me up, but knowing that I’m still someone special to Otie really felt good.  R and I caught up, and I heard all about how spoiled Otis is.  It was so, so nice.

The key to dog rescue is to make sure the victories and happy times outweigh the tough times. You owe it to yourself to seek out moments that make you smile, especially after moments that make you cry.

Thank you, Otis (and R!) for reminding me of all the things I have to smile about.


A Visit With Otis!

I have been missing Otis a lot the past three weeks. His new dad stays in touch with happy updates, questions, silly pictures, etc. – which I absolutely love. One day in between pictures of Otis stealing pillows and stories of his other silly antics, R brought up that I should come visit.

Of course I wanted to visit Otis. I’ve been wanting to see him since ten minutes after he got adopted. But I know he’s in a sensitive transition time, and I don’t want to confuse him or mess up his progress. R continually assured me that he thought Otis would be fine because he had adjusted so well and seemed pretty settled in. I agreed to stop by exactly three weeks after Otis went to this new home.

I was still torn on how I wanted the visit to go. Selfishly, I wanted Otis to be as excited to see me as he always has been – but a more sensible side of me wanted the opposite. You see, when Otis was with me last summer I watched him interact with his previous owner after I’d had him for about two weeks. He acted like he had never met that person in his life; he was totally indifferent towards him. I took this to mean that Otis could only be attached to one person at a time. Therefore, if he was very happy to see me when I visited him, I was worried it would mean he wasn’t attached to R yet. So I was ready for anything.

When I stopped by, R and Otie were in the garage working on cars. As I walked up, Otis started to act like he would if I was a stranger: backing up, some barking – I’d seen it all before. I crouched down and said, “Hi you big scary guard dog,” and that is when he recognized me – and totally lost it. He went ballistic and was so excited to see me, just like before. In that moment, I was the happiest foster mom of all time. Here was my foster dog, who I have been missing so much, acting like he’s missed me just the same. It was amazing. Then, my fears about Otie’s adjustment were extinguished as Otis ran up to R as if he were saying, “Look who came to visit!” It was the cutest thing of all time.

The reunion explosion continued for about five minutes and ended with Otis running back and forth between me and R in excitement. We took the party into R’s place and posted up on the couch. Otis immediately plopped himself in between us, doing his usual overbearing face-kissing routine alternatively to me and R. R and I caught up and talked about all things Otis, while Otie finally settled down and snuggled up between us.

If I could have written up the best outcome for a post-adoption visit with Otis, this would have been it. I got to see for myself just how happy he is with R. They are such a great pair, going everywhere and doing everything together. R seems to have become just as attached as I was (yay! yay! yay!).

They’ve got their routine down, and Otis is right at home. So much of Otie’s quirks and personality that I came to know also show up in the things him and R do together.

In fact, there were a few things that stood out, showing just how secure Otis now feels around R. He’s doing zoomies and he’s being brave enough to meet (and play with!) the shy little dog next door.

One of the best indications of progress is how much obedience training he and R have been working on together – and they haven’t even gone to a class yet. R has gotten Otis very good at focusing on him, and they’re mastering many of the basics. R has even taught Otis how to catch treats in his mouth. This may seem like a no brainer for a dog, but let me tell you – Otis really struggled with this when he was with me. It just didn’t occur to him to catch the treat, and would let it hit him in the head every single time. Look at how well he and R work together (disclaimer: the usual squealing occurs in this video):

I’m beyond glad that I listened to R and went to visit Otis. I got to experience the best of both worlds: Otis recognized me, and yet he very clearly loves his new life.

Reason #7038334 to foster!



And They’re Off!

Lots of horse talk this week, but I can’t help it – tomorrow is the Belmont Stakes! Race horse I’ll Have Another has won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and tomorrow will race to win the first Triple Crown title since 1978. For those of us who have yet to witness a Triple Crown win in our lifetime, this is super exciting. We’ve had our hearts broken before by Funny Cide, Smarty Jones, Big Brown, and four others who won the first two legs but couldn’t pull through in the third race.

We’re all hoping this year will be different. The Belmont Stakes is the longest of the three races, which is why even though a horse can finish extremely well in the first two, the third race is always the toughest. I love Triple Crown season, but those 3 minutes are the most nerve-racking minutes of my life! Ahh!

Anyway, back to the point. Otie ran his own Belmont Stakes race this week and would like me to report to everyone that he won. He is quite the Thoroughbred.

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.