Hillary has been in our care for just over two weeks, but she’s only been living with me for about one. I got the call about the parvo puppies on August 6th. Noodles went right into the hospital, where he stayed for five days. Luckily he did survive. Then there was Boo, who spent the first night throwing up on Hillary (“Spunky” at the time). Boo stayed in the hospital the next night, but quickly recovered.
My friend Susan was nice enough to care for Hillary for the week, as I had my hands full with my dog (Bill), the puppies, and circus practice. The circus was on Saturday night, but luckily I had received what I thought to be good applicants for the puppies during the week. I took Hillary back from Susan, gathered all the puppies, and arranged for the adopters to meet at my house in the afternoon. Everyone went home with a puppy that day. Noodles’ (now “Archie”)new mom struggled with him for a few days, as the first night she tried too hard to make friends, and he resented her for that. I talked with her frequently, and she hired a dog trainer. The day before the trainer came, she sounded sad and desperate. The day after, she sounded exuberant! She said it was like night and day. Apparently Archie likes her now.
I received great feedback from Boo’s new mommies. He took a road trip to California with them and their Boxer-mix, and he’s doing great. Then there was Hillary. A couple adopted her but emailed me less than 18 hours later to tell me they’d like to bring her back. They said she didn’t like them. I said they didn’t even give her a chance. It turns out they just weren’t ready for a new dog yet, as their previous dog had just passed. Additionally, they didn’t understand that getting to know a dog who spent the previous (and only) 14 weeks of her life in a yard takes time. Well, their loss is my family’s gain, as we’re going to keep her.
So it’s been a week. Hillary is still a little hand shy, but I swear she’s a puppy genius. Within days, she learned the following commands: sit, stay, come, lay down (shouldn’t it be “lie down”?), crawl, and sit pretty. She has only had two accidents in the past week, and she’s hiking off-leash already, with only a few minor transgressions where she gets too excited to meet other dogs and tries to follow them. She’s figured out that she’s supposed to follow Bill into the car and out of the car, and she is responding well to corrections.
This puppy loves to chew, but she’s been pretty good about discontinuing chewing my books and pillows when I say, “No.” I tried to brush her teeth yesterday, but she thought the toothbrush was also a chew toy. Guess we’ll keep working on that one.
What I love most, so far, is the energy she has brought to our home. Bill has definitely been more active, even playing with toys and bones, which is something he never does when he’s alone. Tux still isn’t so sure about her, but we’re working on it. Maybe he’ll even come back downstairs sometime soon since we’re “taking a long break” from fostering.
On that topic, I need to address how this blog will chance. For that past three years, I’ve been keeping this blog as a diary of life as a foster parent. Now I’ll continue to write, but the topics will be more centered around the care and training of a puppy rescued from a backyard breeder and a puppy mill survivor – my distinguished couple – Bill and Hillary. I’ll cover their interactions, my trial-and-error training of Hillary, and how Bill benefits from her presence. I’ll cover our adventures as I experience life as a new “mom,” which is totally new to me. It should be a blast, and I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to the chaos, so stay tuned.
Regarding hard-hitting animal advocacy work, the Up For Pups blog is again free for animal advocacy posts. It had been occupied by the development of the Road to Rescue: Dog Rescue Best Practices Manual for several months, but the manual is complete, and now we will go back to writing about important advocacy topics of which you should be aware.