Juno What, I Could Have Kept Her!


I never need to worry that we’ll be long without a foster dog for Bill to play with because MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue is just so darn busy! Juno, like Madeline (one of our last fosters), was a puppy mill breeder. However, unlike strangely well-adjusted Madeline, Juno did NOT want to be touched. She was inquisitive and wanted to be near, even taking cheese out of our hands, but as soon as we went to grab her, she was across the room. Poor girl – I had never seen a dog’s toenails cut (or broken?) back so far past the quick. She didn’t seem to be in pain but I can imagine her paws hurt her.

Juno was tiny for a Boston – maybe 14 lbs. (my fosters average about 20 lbs.). She was an easy dog, catching onto potty training and never grumbling about staying in her crate. I received her after she had been adopted out to the WRONG person, which I’m still confused about. He was a single, retired man who was frustrated that Juno’s previous foster didn’t properly prepare him for adopting a puppy mill dog (which I don’t believe) and he said he didn’t have time to help her get over her issues. Uh, didn’t he just say he was retired? he seemed like someone who just wanted to complain. BUT – these situations are exactly why I wrote the Mill Dog Manifesto a few months ago, a free eBook to help people socialize and understand their distressed, ex-mill dogs (check it out!).

The other thing that struck me as strange about the man adopting her was that Juno obviously needed to be in a home with another dog. When she came into my home, she went NUTS playing with Bill. For the four days I had her, Bill was her anchor – nothing was too bad when he was around. She even started getting brave with us petting her.

A few families applied for Juno, but the perfect one turned out to be only about 20 minutes away. The had adopted another distressed dog a year ago who had been tied to a tree for the first year of his life and had only eaten hay (yes, his stomach was full of hay when we got him). They brought him over to meet Juno and the two really hit it off. The only hitch was that I had forgotten to mention my cats, and their dog, Skippy, got a little too excited when he entered my home. Of course, instead of jumping up on something high, my one sassy cat decided to give him a piece of his mind, which only complicated things. But after a few minutes we had everybody rounded up and all was well.

The day after Juno went to her new home, I got Madeline back but this time only as a guest. Her new mom was going out of town for a week and asked me to dogsit. Madeline is a gem and we were more than happy to invite her back. But I wonder, did her mom really leave town or did she just want some cheap training for her? Just kidding, but I’m planning on giving her back with at least potty training and the words “come,” “sit,” and “stay.”

What a great end to the week.

Foster Updates

If you read my last post, you’ll know that I was told I’d be getting a Boston-Chi mix who was hit by a car as my next foster. I never got her because it turns out that there are good people in this world, and the pup had so many applications on her that my rescue decided there was no point in sending her all the way up to me. Go Tilly!

Marley: Funny story about Marley, the pudgy, humpy foster I had a few weeks ago. I left for vacation so Marley went to live with another foster. At first she said she would hang on to him, but then after he nipped her year-old grandson, she decided it would be better if I took him back. We met one morning at our usual spot, made the transfer, and then I stopped at a dog-loving friend’s house on the way home. Well, that’s where Marley stayed! He was having so much fun with her and her kids (age 7 and 10) that they decided to foster my foster. But are they really fostering? I think not, though only time will tell. I’ve heard the kids are mounting a campaign to keep the little guy, and my money is on him staying there for good.

Madeline: I received a great email from “Madeline” yesterday, so I thought I would share. She went to her new home last week, and though we miss her, it’s clear that she’s already become quite an important part of her new family. Here’s her note:

Yes, I am adjusting quite well. I had a great weekend. I got to meet lots of new friends and some family. We went shopping at Pet’s Mart on Saturday. It was really busy in there with lots of people and dogs. So a got a little nervous in there. Daddy took me out to the car and I felt a lot better. Mommy came out with a pretty new pink collar with a new bling tag on it with my name on it. I think I’m going to be very spoiled in my new forever home. I like my evening walks and I think Im more comfortable sleeping in my crate at night. But, early in the mornings Daddy gets up and takes me out to go poddy. I’m really trying to bond with him, but Im still a little afraid of him. Then I get to sleep some more on his lap while he reads for about an hour. Then he takes me to Mommy and lets me sleep with her on the bed until she gets up. Boy, do I LIKE that. Its so soft and comfy and warm that I drift right to sleep and snore right into Mommy’s ear.

Today was my first whole day with Mommy and Me. We went to PetCo today to look for more chew toys that I can’t eat. The others I’ve had I gobble them up and get real stinky gas! Pardon me! I also had a bath today. That went ok. I’m not sure that I like it a whole lot, but Mommy was real gentle and my skin is not as itchy. I also love playing outside. My next door neighbor, Ralphie ,and I like playing chase along the fence line. That’s her in a picture below.

Gotta go now and take a nap before Daddy gets home. Will write again next week or two.

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).

Another Cancer Dog!

This is a very bad month, but I guess we need “bad” sometimes to put the “good” in perspective. For example, I’ve been stressed out with Happy Tails Books because I switched our shopping cart to Amazon.com, which means people have to sign in to Amazon to check out now, and I have no idea if people don’t make it through the process (with our old cart I did know). On the upside, the fees are much lower so I can donate more. Any ideas? What do you think about checking out with Amazon?

Anyway, all of these stresses pale in comparison to the fact that my latest four-hour foster (I was really just holding her for the day) needs to have her leg removed on Tuesday. I’ve never actually seen a bad mast cell tumor in person before, and I’d hoped I never would. Unfortunately, little Daisy was dumped at the Boulder Humane Society with a huge tumor. There’s not much else to do but remove her leg because it’s malignant.

I hear it hasn’t spread to her lungs yet, and I hope that by removing her leg they can save her from future cancer trouble. She’s a really sweet nine-year-old who is a little “too interested” in cats. (That what her paperwork said and it’s so true! She bit my cat and made him throw up! He’s fine but it was gross.) Please keep Daisy in your thoughts along with Zoye, who is with a great family now, but I still haven’t heard the results from her cancer biopsy.

It’s been a rough month but we’re almost out of it. The Boxer book is about ready for pre-sale, and the German Shepherd book is well on its way. I’m looking forward to receiving stories for our next books which are maybe going to be about Pugs and cats. Yup… February is going to be much better.

An Oldie but Goodie


So I got my old dog, but it wasn’t the one I thought I was getting. The emergency fostered turned out to possibly be dog/cat aggressive so I requested he go to a different home (not fair to my 2 cats and Bill). Instead, I was asked to take a seven-year-old ex-puppy mill breeder who had been adopted and then returned.

The family who adopted her said they couldn’t keep her because she bit their daughter. They found they couldn’t potty train her so for six months, they kept her quarantined to the kitchen with their other dog. They were “so sad” that they couldn’t bond with her because she had to stay in the kitchen all the time. They said she was becoming aggressive with their dog over food and bones, and that she must be blind and deaf because she walks into things all the time.

So I went into this thinking I was getting a very broken dog. Turns out, however, that there is nothing wrong with this dog. Zoye has not stopped licking me since we got her, and she’s just a little cuddle bug! They said they had tried to use a diaper on her and she just walked around in circles, but I think they tried once and thought it was too hard to put the diaper on. I wasn’t going to diaper her until she peed on my bed (ground for diapering), and it has been a good thing. Each time she lifts her leg (yes, she pees like a boy!), I give her a firm “no,” rip off the diaper, and put her outside. I think she’ll get it in time. Unless, of course, she’s peeing because she just can’t hold it after having about thirteen litters! I’d be peeing all over the place, too!

She’s getting along great with Bill and doesn’t even notice the cats. Oh, and they told me she eats and drinks so fast that she throws up everything. Uh…no, she doesn’t. I hate to jump to conclusions, but I’m wondering if the dog in that house was terrorizing her, causing her to eat and drink fast and pee everywhere because she was so uncomfortable.

I hope we can find her a great new family who will throw her favorite squeaky cheeseburger for her all day and understand if she needs a little extra understanding about pottying. It’s sad she was adopted and then returned (after six months!) but I’m glad our family will be able to give her a Merry Christmas.

Boudicca the Celtic Warrior Pooper


This last Boston Terrier foster was another quickie, but we were not without adventure! Here’s the background:

I received a call asking if I would take a seven-month-old Boston Terrier who had been dumped at the shelter with her brother and sister. Did you know shelters have night drop boxes? Well that’s where these dogs landed. I can’t imagine what the night was like for them because the two sisters are constantly at each other’s throats… literally. Because of their mutual aggression, the shelter deemed them unadoptable. So the boy went off to his new life and the girls were sent to us at MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue (instead of being euthanized – yay!).

I met Jami, our Colorado rescue coordinator, at a gas station to do the hand-off. Little did I know she was going to give me a choice. Which sister would I like? Ugh. One was emaciated with poop hanging off her butt. The other was stocky and healthy-looking. Both were a little sketchy around Bill – unsure if they should play or attack. I guess can’t blame them; if I spent my whole life fighting for resources, I would probably be leery, too.

I usually go for the most needy dogs, but this time I took the healthier one. The reason was that the other one needed knee surgery in Denver, which is about a half hour drive for me, so it just made more sense for her to go to a foster in Denver. It turns out I chose wisely…

It wasn’t three hours later when Jami called to say she had been bit! Luna, the skinny sister, continuously attacked Jami’s dogs and finally turned on Jami. Luckily she had baby teeth, but Jami sure had her hands full.

I hung up the phone thinking I was lucky that Maya, the stocky sister, was totally normal. It only took a few more minutes for her to prove me wrong, though, when she lunged at Bill. This happened four times in the few days I had her, and it was always over a bone or a person.

Maya was also slightly sketchy at the dog park, but it became easy to predict if she was going to get “toothy.” When the energy at the park escalated and she started barking, I knew it was time to get her leashed and refocused, which seemed to work well.

I thought I would have to rehome her to a place where she would be the only dog, but I got an application from the perfect family with an adult Boxer who could put her in her place. The mom, Susan, automatically noticed Maya’s bossiness (now Boudicca, the Celtic Warrior Queen), and is working with her accordingly. From what I hear, everything is going swimmingly.

Ah, puppies.I think Boudicca left about 12 reminders of why I prefer older dogs and not puppies, but thanks to my carpet shampooer, the only place that is forever stained is my mind. With the carpets cleaned and the toys put away, Bill and I are ready for a new challenge, which we hope will involve a nine-year-old in need. Stay tuned…

Watch out for Steroids

After putting my most recent foster, Toby, on steroids, I’ve learned they can definitely be a doubled-edged sword. After two days his itching stopped but shaking and fearful behavior began.

There are two kinds of steroids – anabolic and anti-inflammatory – the latter of which is most common for pet use. According to Vet4Pets.com, steroids are prescribed for: allergies, spinal inflammation, brain swelling and inflammation, immune mediated diseases, inflammation from arthritis, stomach and intestinal inflammation.

Toby had a very bad yeast infection on his skin. We tried to manage it with Cephalexin and Benedryl, but found that the antibiotic and antihistamine weren’t enough. We bathed him with Pyoben, and although it’s more for bacteria than yeast, it seemed to offer some relief. Then we changed his medication to Prednisone and Clavamox, a steroid and a stronger antibiotic.

The switch seemed to work well, and the itching finally subsided. However, I started noticing that Toby would cower after getting about 20 feet from my house on a walk. If we drove somewhere to go walking, he would immediately want to get back in the car. He would lay in his bed and shake, and his nervous tail-wagging turned into just nervousness without the wag. I was having the hardest time figuring out what was going on until I remembered his change in meds.

Needless to say we cut his dosage back immediately. With steroids it’s important not to stop them cold turkey (at least that’s my understanding), so we reduced him from two per day to one per day for five days, and then we cut him back to one every other day. The shaking subsided, and while he was still fearful, our walks became more successful.

Toby is now on to his new family. His “dad” is a vet student and will surely do a good job handling his meds. Oh, and he’s got a nine-month-old little “brother” now, too! This family is perfect for Toby and I wish them all well – he deserves the best home with no other dogs sitting on his head (yes – believe it or not, Bill was not the one getting his head sat on this time around!). The family who adopted Toby also deserves a great dog. I’m excited they found each other…

…And now Bill and I are off to our next adventure! We’ll be picking up Foster #17 (don’t know her name) tomorrow! She’s a seven-month-old Boston who was dumped at a shelter. I swore I’d never take a puppy, so this is going to be a real challenge. I’ll let you know how it goes. Pray for me!

Snow Cute!

People often say, “Wow! You’ve really done a great job with him. It must have been hard.” Honestly, over the last year-and-a-half that we’ve been rehabilitating our ex-mill dog, Bill, there have been times when I thought he was never going to become a “dog.” When he sat in his bed for three months and cowered each time I tried to walk him, I thought, “Maybe Bill would be happier with an older person who isn’t active.”

I’m so glad I persevered. Days like today make it all worthwhile. Toby, our foster, opted to stay in the car when we arrived at the dog park. But Bill had a blast! (photo credits: Dennis Duffy. Bill’s got a fan club. I wish my parent’s liked me as much as they like him!).


One tough cookie!


I never thought my professional career would lead to “Dog Tilt-A-Whirl Operator”

Fostering a Love for Snow


Bill and his buddy, Lucy, playing in the snow

Depending on the breed you foster and where you live, taking in dogs during the winter can be hard. With Bostons, it can go either way, but for a small breed they are pretty darn tough so the winter weather is usually not too challenging.

Luckily my new foster, Toby, doesn’t mind the snow in the yard. In fact, he marches right in and does his thing. Bill, on the other hand, has taken to peeing on his feet on our patio (when is he going to learn!).

On the downside, Toby’s got a skin and ear infection. I hope the mail trucks get out today – oh, back up, the fact that we got two feet of snow over the last day is integral to this story – Toby’s ear medicine is in the mail from rescue and he really needs it. If you’ve never had a dog with an ear infection, it’s pretty miserable. He’s trying to stuff his whole paw in his ear and he keeps shaking his head vigorously. Curing it is easy, though, just a week or two of ear drops twice a day.

On the other hand, his skin will take much longer. We don’t really know what caused the infection, but a cocktail of Benedryl and Cephilixin (sp?) twice daily should clear it up in a few months. He’s also getting a weekly medicated bath, and luckily he’s not too bad in the tub.

The point of all this is that I feel bad for Toby that he’s not feeling well and has to go for walks in such cold weather. I feel bad for Bill, too, because he would spend the whole day at the dogpark, running in the snow, given the opportunity. I guess we’ll leave Toby at home for that one today.

The Bug Who Squashed Our Hearts


I rehomed Penny, who we lovingly call “Bug,” faster than any other foster we have ever had. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her (because she instantly stole our hearts and was a great playmate for Bill). Instead, I wanted to find her a new home quickly because I was concerned that if I didn’t, she would never leave.

The extent of our roommate’s attachment to her wasn’t apparent until he came home to her absence and looked like he was about to cry! Here’s a guy who thrives on irresponsibility – no tie-downs and lots of time out with friends. But – it seems he was bit by the Love Bug! A week later he’s still fawning over her memory, often mentioning that she’s the latest girl to break his heart.

I’m sorry he’s sad, but I’m not remorseful about her new digs – he’s never home enough to have a dog and I would have ended up caring for her. Additionally, as is often the problem with “foster failure,” if we kept her we could no longer foster (too many animals at the zoo!). Instead Bug will be living the rest of her life with very conscientious parents and a spunky Chi brother. I think she’ll be happy, and if she’s not, they know our door is always open for her.

This one was hard to let go of – fond memories of this nine-pound “Little Bug” have left a hundred-pound impact on our hearts.

But now we’re on to Rocky, number 15…