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!


Fall Afternoon Lessons… with Otis!

We love parallel walks. A dog can benefit so much from a walk with another dog. It gives them the opportunity to be around another dog without the pressure to interact, which can also help them learn to be calm in the presence of other dogs/people.  Sometimes I don’t always feel comfortable letting my fosters play off-leash with other dogs, but I’m always up for a fun leash walk!

The day after Thanksgiving was totally wide open for us. It was me, Charlie Bear, and a gorgeous Fall day, which obviously meant scoping out the best place to take him hiking.  I decided tocall up R to see if he and Otis wanted to join so that Charlie could practice walking nicely with another dog.  The four of us headed out to the C & O Canal, one of my absolute favorite spots to go for a nice long walk.

Charlie and Otis immediately hit it off.  In addition to getting practice walking with each other, both dogs got to work on staying calm when bikers, joggers, walkers and other dogs passed by.  With the help of treats and some distraction with the “sit” command, both boys pretty quickly began ignoring the passing company.

It can be helpful to take young dogs (or any age, really) to low-key places like this for a controlled amount of positive interactions (if and ONLY if they can handle it and aren’t reactive, etc.). What you want to avoid is introducing them to too much, causing them to become overstimulated where they might learn negative behavior or bad associations.  Socialization does not mean blasting your dog with every experience under the sun – it means controlled, positive situations where they can grow and learn in a positive way.  It also means knowing when to call it quits. We never reached that point with Charlie (or Otis, for that matter) because he’s pretty great in new situations, but I was constantly watching his body language for signs of stress.

As you can tell, the boys seemed pretty too cool for school during their hike.  After all the learning, practicing, and perfecting, both Charlie and Otis enjoyed some relaxing time lounging around for photos – which quickly turned into attempted play time! Ha!

I am proud of Charlie Bear for doing so awesome and for proving to me yet again what a great dog he will make for someone.  To top off our fun afternoon, Char plopped down when we got home from that walk and didn’t get up again until dinner.  Thanks to the basic obedience practice and the physical exercise, Charlie was tired and happy.

If you’re interested in adding Charlie to your family, email me at peacelovefoster@gmail.com, or fill out an application on the Jasmine’s House website.


Meet Adoptable Charlie!

Warning: CUTENESS OVERLOAD in every post this week.

I had the pleasure of watching Charlie, an adoptable 1+ year old “pit bull” dog, while his foster family was out of town for Thanksgiving. You might recognize him from my posts about Pit Bull Awareness Day, where I was first introduced to him. I was instantly hooked by his cute round eyes, precious little ears and calm personality when I met him in October, so when he was in need of a place to crash for a few days I jumped at the chance.  I was so excited to get to know this little guy!

Not surprisingly, Charlie lived up to my expectations. He is a total doll. In my opinion he is the perfect combination of a calm, “old man” personality with bursts of total puppy behavior and antics.  He will snooze with you on the couch and then immediately romp around in the yard with you like a bunny rabbit (not an exaggeration). We spent the weekend relaxing, exercising, and laughing together (okay, maybe I was the one laughing and he was the one doing silly things).

Charlie is very food motivated, which made it easy for me to connect with him in just the short time I spent with him.  Whoever ends up with him will likely enjoy building a strong bond through training.  Charlie is a quick learner, is eager to please, and seems to like learning new things.

Like I mentioned, Charlie’s got a very gentle personality. The fact that he lives with and totally adores six-year old twins should be a pretty good sign to how solid his personality is. I would absolutely recommend Charlie to a home with kids – especially if they could tire each other out!

As if he hasn’t won you over yet, Charlie is almost as non-reactive as a year old puppy can be. When around other dogs he shows interest and wants to play (exhibited just by attention that direction and tail wags), but he almost immediately redirects towards you when you ask him to. This also goes for strangers – we met a large man on a walk who was wearing dark clothes, a hat and walking with a cane. Charlie thought he was just about the best person he’d ever met.

If you feel like I’m totally gushing about Charlie, you’re spot on.  This dog is AWESOME.  Even Mark, a tough critic when it comes to my fosters (as in he likes them, but doesn’t totally mind when they get adopted), fell in love and jokingly said he wouldn’t mind if I said I wanted to keep Charlie.

Charlie has only recently bounced back from some health issues, after finally being diagnosed with pemphigus foliaceus. This is an autoimmune disease he will have forever that affects his skin, but it is very easily managed and he should have a long, healthy life.   His foster home has done so much work to diagnose and treat the disease thus far, Charlie’s adopters shouldn’t have many problems at all moving forward.

I know I share a lot of adoptable dogs on this blog, but in case I hadn’t made this clear yet: Charlie is a very special catch!  He isn’t scooped up yet because he’s just now finally getting over his medical stuff, but I don’t doubt that he’ll be adopted quickly by a very lucky family (can you tell I’m a little jealous?).

Because we had three full days together and I didn’t have to work, Charlie and I went on some pretty awesome adventures. Even though he’s back at his foster home now, I’ll be writing about our time together all this week.  Stay tuned!

If you’re interested in adopting Charlie, email me at peacelovefoster@gmail.com or fill out an application with Jasmine’s House.



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!


Update on Baxter

Thankfully I am here with good news about Baxter’s recovery. He is home and healing up in the comfort of his own family!  He was released from the hospital Tuesday evening, and his family was up all night keeping him comfortable and giving him meds. As you could have probably guessed, he has been subjected to the cone of shame.

I actually got the chance to go visit him yesterday! His hero Big Bruno was babysitting ‘the kids’ all day, so I stopped by during my lunch. Baxter was in great spirits and greeted me at the door with the rest of the welcoming committee. They are a silly bunch, those three.

He’s got a bunch of energy, which is good – but it means they have to be extra careful about keeping his activity level low. The silly guy barely acts like he almost died!

His parents are being so wonderful and taking such great care of him.  I am thankful that he found them as his final place to land.  Baxter has a long road of recovery ahead of him – right now he can only eat every few hours and is still on lots of medication – but he is in the best hands possible. I will surely keep you updated on him!


Just Another Political Ad

Raise your hand if you’re SO HAPPY that election day is over and we can stop listening, watching and reading political advertisements? I know I sure am.  No matter who you wanted to win, the fact of the matter now is that it’s over and we can move on with our lives instead of being continuously bombarded with political banter all day on social media.

I appreciate my friends’ efforts when they share their beliefs about what is right (so, basically who they think I should vote for). But I found that more often than not, their comments just came off as accusatory or derogatory in a, “It’s only obvious that you should vote for ________ because of X, Y and Z,” sort of way.

I started to realize that all the opinionated, obnoxious political blabbering had some similarities to the messages that rescue organizations or advocates sometimes send out. Animal welfare advocates can at times be pushy, pointing fingers, or just plain mean. All because one person believes they’re much more correct than another person/group. Sound familiar? Presidential election, anyone?

Now I can admit fault for this as well.  Specifically when it comes to social media, I try to tone down how much I preach on the Peace, Love & Fostering page – but I sometimes get carried away on my own personal page (hey, ranting is what Facebook is for, right?). But overall, I’m a laid back, non-confrontational, why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along sort of person. Sure, I might not agree with you – but I’m very much the “catch ’em with honey, not vinegar” type. Which is why spiteful, accusing political ads bug me just as much as “my way is the best way” rescue groups.

On that note, I believe there is a major difference between educating on an issue versus just slamming the other side. You might be thinking right now, “Juliana, you can come off as opinionated and pushy in your beliefs right here on this blog.” First of all, sorry if I seem pushy. Second of all, yes, I have this public platform and I try to use it to spread ideas, but my intent is to do so in an educational way, not in a pushy or demanding way. I wouldn’t turn down someone trying to have a calm, intelligent discussion with me about something I write about. In fact, I welcome that because I truly believe you learn the most when you’re being open minded. Which is why I hate politics season so much. I haven’t once felt like someone was honestly just trying to educate me on either candidate, as opposed to just saying, “He’s wrong and he’s right” in so many words. The same goes for dogs and rescue work. If you disagree with something I believe or I’m doing, explain to me why you don’t like it or what a good alternative would be. Let’s have an honest conversation. Maybe we’ll both learn something.

I suppose the joke’s on me for spending a whole post ranting about politics, right? Well my point is just: try not to be a political ad, but maybe be more of a kind-hearted PSA.

Baxter in his finest USA gear. Thank you for all your well wishes on yesterday’s post. Baxter is steadily recovering, and by now should be home resting with his family. We will keep you updated as we hear more.