Olive Having Fosters In The House

We’re back in action! Now that things have finally settled down after a wonderful trip to Vegas for the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets conference, we’re ready to foster more dogs.

If you’re new to this blog, check out Bill’s story (he’s my foster-turned-forever Boston Terrier who inspired me to get involved with animal welfare) to get a background on how we became foster parents and ended up starting Happy Tails Books. It’s a pretty crazy story. Most relevant to this blog, is that since we adopted Bill, our 2nd foster, we’ve had 29 more foster dogs through our home. And this week we got a new one.

Olive - MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue Foster Dog #32
Olive - MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue Foster Dog #32

Olive languished in a puppy mill for the first five years of her life. After the mill was raided by the ASPCA (I think) back in March, Olive came into foster care with MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue. I’m pretty sure she actually had a litter in foster care before she was spayed, but I’m not positive. All I know is that her nipples are huge, and this poor little girl has probably had at least seven or eight litters in her life. She’s only about 14 pounds – being a puppy mill breeder must have just been awful for her. (Honestly, who wouldn’t life in a chicken-wire cage be awful for, though?) Oh, and by the way, she needed an eye removed because of an unattended injury.

Olive was adopted out and returned. She went to someone with no other pets, and it turned out another dog was important for Olive’s well-being. Then she was shipped to a family in Colorado from her foster home in Nebraska, which is when I got involved. That family, actually good friends of ours, was concerned with Olive’s initial behavior. Olive and Lucy, another one of my previous foster dogs, didn’t exactly hit it off, and Olive bit my friend when he tried to take a toy away from her. Because they have a small child, they were very concerned about the biting, so I offered to foster her and help them find a different dog.

Olive came to our house and thrived. Her and Bill had a great time together, and Dylan (my husband) and I just loved her. She’s sweet, funny (especially when she pulls herself across the floor on her belly like a sand shark), and pretty easy to hang out with.

After a few days, my friends though they might like to give it one more try. We had a play date, and it went much better. I think that when they met Olive the first time, she was really stressed out from having been in a car for eight hours, and then their dog Lucy overwhelmed her with her “butt-spin-attack” play technique. This time around, with Bill as the referee, the girls actually romped and played for a while. Nobody got bit, and my friends were convinced she could be a good fit. I’ll find out tomorrow if they were right…stay tuned!

The Easiest Goodbye

People often ask me if its hard to say goodbye to foster dogs. Sometimes it is very difficult, like in the case of Camille, who was a sweet, potty-trained dog that Bill adored. Other times the parting is much easier because a)I found the dog annoying for whatever reason, c) Bill and the dog didn’t really hit it off, or c)the dog seems so happy to be going along to his or her new parents.

The latter is the case with Charlie, a rescue return who I only had for a few days. Charlie was adopted out to an elderly man, and within a year, the man felt he could no longer care for Charlie. (I wasn’t the one who facilitated this adoption, but lesson learned – young, energetic foster dogs should not go to elderly people. There are plenty of older dogs needing homes who would have been a better fit.)

Bill didn’t like Charlie because Charlie, like JayJay before him, made crazy growling noises while playing. Although Charlie is fairly dog-aggressive, Bill was the aggressor in our home this time! I had to break them up multiple times.

Even if Bill doesn’t like Charlie, we do. He’s potty trained, smart, and loving toward people. I was contacted by a man who had never had a dog before but felt he was ready for one now. He seemed like the perfect fit for Charlie, since he lives in an apartment, has no other dogs, and would be walking Charlie on a leash, so after a home inspection, this man was approved and ready to pick Charlie up.

We met last night, and Charlie jumped into his lap and licked his face immediately. After filling out the adoption contract, all he did was stand up, start walking, and say, “Charlie, come.” Side by side, no leash necessary (we were in a large, safe field), Charlie and his new dog walked into the sunset, got in the car, and drove off to their new life together. It couldn’t have been a more peaceful and happy transition.

Jay Jay Takes a Dip

Jay Jay is toy-obsessed, to put it lightly. You could get that dog to serve you his dinner if you hold a toy over your plate. The other night he proved just how toy-obsessed he was when we were in the hot tub. As we sat there, enjoying a “relaxing” evening, Jay Jay continuously threw his toy into the hot tub (it’s above ground, mind you, and on his tippie-toes he can just put his head over the edge to look in). My husband finally balanced it on the edge of the turned up cover, so what did Jay Jay do? He jumped up, balanced on the edge of the slippery hot tub, and grabbed the toy off the cover.

From there it was a free-for-all. Jay Jay kept throwing the toy into the hot tub, and finally we decided that if he wanted to throw it in, he had to get it out himself. And…guess what? He did! Occasionally he could jump up and get his mouth around it, but more than once he actually dove right in! Check out the video below (it’s hard to see, but if you tilt your screen right, you should be able to get the picture!).

Oh, Jay Jay! You are one funny dog! We’ll miss you now that you’ve gone on to your new home, but at least all of our river rocks are now back where they belong – in the yard – and our guest bed is safe from your “inappropriate advances.” 🙂

Rock Star

It’s been a week that we’ve had our newest foster dog, JayJay. He’s been sick, so I haven’t been able to give him as much exercise as I’d like, but he seems to stay entertained. His favorite thing is to come in from the yard with a big rock propping open his mouth. If we’re out hiking, he’ll carry one the whole way. I can’t imagine rocks are good for his teeth, but I can’t watch him every second of the day. I’ve provided him with plenty of bones and toys, but they don’t seem to hold the appeal rocks do. As I write, he’s desperately trying to get to a rock we’ve hidden on the counter top – nothing gets past this dog when it comes to toys and rocks!

We have to limit his toy time because his other favorite thing, besides jamming his mouth open with rocks, is putting a toy on your leg and gnawing on it.

Jayjay is actually a very sweet dog who will do anything to please you…he’s just a little misguided right now about what is actually “pleasing.” He’s a good sleeper, he likes his crate, and he’d never intentionally harm a fly (although he is the size of a moose – okay, a very small baby moose – and when he steps on my toe or slams his giant head into my chin, it hurts!). Even when Bill snaps at him for getting too personal, JayJay just screams like a girl and runs away. This guy is truly a character whom we won’t forget.

Bye, Bye, Buster…Hello, Crazy Dog!

Just when I thought things were going to settle down…

Buster was adopted a week ago. Honestly, it wasn’t really a match made in heaven, but it wasn’t too bad, either. It was an elderly couple who promises to take him everywhere with them. They drove three hours to come meet him. He growled and snapped at the wife, and they still wanted to take him home! The thing I wasn’t thrilled about was that they didn’t seem committed at all to training him, which I always think is sad. Dogs are smart and they like learning, and Buster was no exception. In fact, he was very smart and motivated to learn! The man said, “I don’t like dogs that are overly obedient. I want them to have their own personalities.” He also seemed like more of the old-school kind or disciplinarian.

I explained to him how to appropriately discipline a Boston Terrier (with a firm “no” or “ah-ah” and a redirection into a better action). I’m not sure he got it. Anyway, the good news is I did get an email from them the other day saying that it only took Buster a few minutes to warm up to their son. Please pray for Buster – I hope they give him a good life.

So I took a week off from fostering because a)Buster was hard, b)My mom, dad, and I were performing in a circus, and c)My sister, niece, nephew, and a few friends were coming into town. It was a hectic week, and of course the rescued wrote twice asking if I could take in a dog. The second time I caved, and on Tuesday JayJay arrived. This dog is HIGH STRUNG!!!! (Really, his behavior warrants capital letters and the Boston Terrier owners’ ever-so-loved multiple exclamation points!!!)

Despite the fact that he’s got green snot coming out of his nose, the dog doesn’t stop moving. My nephew was making a joke earlier in the day about a friend who makes “gnaw-gnaw-gnaw” noises when he eats, and then JayJay did just that! It was really funny. He gets very interested in the toys he’s playing with – growling and whining like a maniac while trying to ground whatever it is into your leg. Bill really doesn’t like him because he’s always trying to hump him, and Bill prefers to be the humper. I think Bill actually bit him because after a little scuffle, JayJay came to me bleeding!

On the upside, JayJay is a very tail-waggy, loving, sweet dog who is potty trained. He’s a moose, too – his head is easily twice the size of Bill’s, and even though his ribs are poking out, he weighs 31 pounds (compared to Bill at a paltry 20 pounds!). I think a healthy weight for him would be closer to 34 pounds.

Yay for parents! They’re watching JayJay for now, so I can get some work done and Bill can sleep. On Saturday they’re taking the dogs so Dylan and I can fly a dog named Spud to his new home in Grand Junction, CO. We’ve never flown that route before so cross your fingers for us! Spud’s new owner is very excited to get her new dog, and we’re more than happy to deliver him. Oh, and I’ve been taking landing lessons, so even if I have to punch Dylan in the eye and knock him out on the flight, we should be good to land (just don’t ask me to taxi – I almost ran into the hangar last week!)

Boston Going on Boxer

Recently I was asked if I would take a new foster from a Missouri puppy mill that was closed down. Our rescue knew nothing about her, which I’m usually a little sketchy about because I’ve got my cats and dog to think of first, but I said I would help.

There were probably 20 people involved with getting this dog, Layla, from Kansas City, MO, to Boulder, CO. Our rescue arranged for her to get on a CARE transport (an organization that rents Enterprise vans and transports the dogs between several states regularly). There’s at least 6-10 people involved in that. From there a nice lady picked her up at the drop-off point and drove her another half hour to Westminster. From Westminster I picked her up and took her to Boulder.

Everything went smoothly except that I was depending on my GPS to get me to where I had to pick her up. I was already down in Westminster, and when I reached in my glove box to get it, it wasn’t there! Turns out my husband took it to California with him and “forgot” to tell me-apparently I was supposed to assume he had it because he had my car right before he left. Right…thanks, hon!

Anyway, Layla must have been waiting to get transported in a foster home, because somehow she is miraculously potty trained, knows just what to do when the car door is opened, and has been a wonderful house guest thus far. She’s not afraid of anything and has really kept Bill and the cats on their toes.

This Boston is truly a miniature “Boxer,” as she’s spunky, loving, devoted, and even does the “Boxer Kidney Beans” (their signature wiggle). She gallops around the house like a horse and just doesn’t ever stop moving. She bounces off the back of the couch onto the floor and loves to play “bitey-face” with Bill. This is not your typical mill momma…except for the mange, strange lumps, and udder-like nipples she’s got hanging down. (She’s on antibiotics and special shampoo, so I’m sure we’ll have most of her fixed up shortly).

What a great dog! I just wish she’d settle down a little because her spay stitches are not doing so well (she’s got a lump under her stitches that I’ve learn from the internet is probably an allergic reaction to the stitches or the area is filled with fluid because she WON’T CALM DOWN… And you can forget crating her because she goes crazy with mill flashbacks).

Our Boston Buddy Is Back!

So…here’s what happens when the person fostering a dog doesn’t thoroughly interview several potential adoptors before giving her dog up: the dog gets returned.

Poor Poppi – after only three days he was returned from his fifth home in his short year and a half life (if you count my foster home). It’s good it was only three days, though, as I think he thought he went to camp. I’ve never seen a dog so happy to see me! He was returned because the dog in his new home kept fighting with him, which was definitely a personal (dogal?) issue with the other dog because I’ve had Poppi around at least 30 different dogs (including Bill) and he’s done just fine. The guys who adopted him said he wouldn’t eat and that he had diarrhea, which is strange because he did just fine with me. I’m guessing he knew he just wasn’t in the right place. The people who tried to adopt him were very nice, and I’m sure we’ll find them a dog that is a better fit, but had I gone through my usual screening process Poppi would not have had to go through this – lesson learned.

Why didn’t I go through the regular process? Because these guys had adopted from us before and I was told that Poppi should go to them by our President. She clearly meant well, but just because my dog was closest to those guys didn’t make him the right dog. My red flag was that these guys are about 75 years old, and Poppi’s only 1.5. I don’t want to see him outlive his owners (no offense, but he’s been bounced around enough already). These guys should adopt an older dog. Additionally, upon meeting their dog, the dog snapped at Poppi and the dog was obese. Poppi is in great health and I don’t want to see him end up that way too.

Anyway, moving on – we’ll find Poppi a good new home and in the meantime enjoy him while he’s here. The first thing we did was stop at some ball fields so Bill and Poppi could get reacquainted. They ran and ran, bumping into each other and playing chase; it was a joy to watch. Poppi’s a great dog and he stays right by me when off leash. He’s smart and pretty trustworthy, even though we’ve only known each other for a week. He’s hiked with us a few times and he does great. No complaints here – all we need to do is get him potty trained and he’ll be the perfect dog. Woof!