In Memoriam: Zoey

Zoey, a Boston Terrier puppy mill survivor, brought a lot of joy to the life of her momma, Jean. We were so sorry to hear of her passing, and in memory of her, we wanted to share her story here with you.

Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Girl

Zoey MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue

Zoey spent the first six years of her life producing puppies for a backyard breeder in Nebraska. She ended up in a shelter, but was taken into foster care by MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue (MABTR) because she was simply too frightened for anyone to want to adopt her at the shelter. She was ready for her forever home shortly thereafter.

Zoey’s website adoption biography described a very shy, scared little dog who shook and shivered over almost anything. She’d likely not been out of her cage often and didn’t appear to trust humans much.

We knew we were her forever family when we read that Zoey needed a “kind of” quiet home, preferably with another dog. It said that a stay-at-home adult would also be good. We fit the bill, so my husband drove 2½ hours to pick up our new girl.

All our pets have been beloved family members, but never have we delighted in an animal’s development as we have with Zoey. Little antics like dragging clothes from the laundry basket or taking leashes, brushes, etc. from the dog tub into the living room as though she were having a party have us laughing.

When we installed a pet door, Zoey was the first one to figure it out, even though our other Boston, Josie, is very outgoing. Zoey amused us by going in and out and in and out repeatedly to show off the fact that she wasn’t afraid to use the new exit-and-entry system.

Zoey keeps numerous toys in our basement window well and likes to jump in and play with them every now and then. Watching her from the basement perspective is a special treat.

These are the joys of adopting a puppy mill dog. When I look at her sometimes and think what her life must have been like and what it is now, I’m so grateful we found her.

We lost Zoey for four days when she slipped out the garage door the first summer we had her. Those were the longest four days ever. We posted lost dog signs all around the community, and many people helped us search. Our local humane society put out a bulletin, and the radio stations made announcements.

Finally we received a call from a lady who thought she had spotted a little black-and-white dog at a gulch about six or seven blocks from our home. I was at work, but my husband went immediately to the location. Sure enough, there was Zoey. She was happy to be rescued all over again, and we were so excited that we had to tell everyone we had our Boston baby back.

Zoey is no run-of-the-mill dog, to be sure. She’s our special girl. –Jean Lakner 

Storytime: Eyes Only For You

Read this and other awesome rescue stories in Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories of Adopted Boston Terriers.

 

Featured rescue: MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue

Eyes Only for You

Rescued Boston Terrier Stories

I didn’t grow up with dogs, and never really wanted one until my kids started getting older and more independent. I realized that my growing unease was the all-too-common “empty nest” feeling parents experience as their kids become adults. I decided a dog might be just the thing to create some new noise in our home. My plan was to begin researching breeds so that in six years when my youngest graduated I would maybe have found the right dog and be ready to adopt (yes, I’m a planner)…

Although I thought a dog would be a long ways off for us, I kept an eye on petfinder.com regularly to see what dogs were available for adoption. After only a few weeks, I narrowed my search down to a few different breeds. I decided to go with a Boston Terrier, not only because of all their wonderful qualities, but also because it was the breed that my now-deceased mother had when she was a little girl. I was looking for a dog with a medium build that loved walks and car rides and people in general. There was only one hitch—I couldn’t stand the big, protruding eyes! They just freaked me out.

After weeks of looking through Boston Terrier profiles online, I came across a story of a 3-year-old named Odie who was surrendered because his family had had a baby. His side view portrait showed a cute, shmooshed face and stocky build, and from what I could see in the pictures, his eyes didn’t seem to protrude. Though my youngest was still in school, I couldn’t help but change my plan and apply for this dog. He looked like he had so much spunk and would be fun to have around!

I went to his foster parent’s home to meet him and there, from the top of the stairs, he stood smiling at me… with eyes that looked like they were about to fall out of his head! They were so “googly” that I couldn’t even tell which way he was looking! My heart sank, but before I knew it, he was in my arms, washing my face with slobbery doggie love.

After such an outpouring I was helpless but to “look the other way” about his eyes and take him home. Today Odie’s eyes are my favorite part of him. I think they are beautiful. They talk to me! I even made a song up about them to the tune of “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. It goes “Sweet Odie Pie, you’re the cutest little guy, you have the most beautiful eyes, sweet Odie pie.” Something like that…

I really lucked out on such a great dog with amazing character and expressive eyes. These days I wonder whether he thought I was the one with the weird-looking eyes when I first met him. If so, I’m glad he was able to overlook it because I couldn’t “see” a future without him! –Kirsten Lahr

Storytime: Eyes Only For You

Read this and other wonderful rescue stories in Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories of Adopted Boston Terriers

 

Featured Rescue: MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue

 

Eyes Only For You

I didn’t grow up with dogs, and never really wanted one until my kids started getting older and more independent. I realized that my growing unease was the all-too-common “empty nest” feeling parents experience as their kids become adults. I decided a dog might be just the thing to create some new noise in our home. My plan was to begin researching breeds so that in six years when my youngest graduated I would maybe have found the right dog and be ready to adopt (yes, I’m a planner)…

Although I thought a dog would be a long ways off for us, I kept an eye on petfinder.com regularly to see what dogs were available for adoption. After only a few weeks, I narrowed my search down to a few different breeds. I decided to go with a Boston Terrier, not only because of all their wonderful qualities, but also because it was the breed that my now-deceased mother had when she was a little girl. I was looking for a dog with a medium build that loved walks and car rides and people in general. There was only one hitch—I couldn’t stand the big, protruding eyes! They just freaked me out.

After weeks of looking through Boston Terrier profiles online, I came across a story of a 3-year-old named Odie who was surrendered because his family had had a baby. His side view portrait showed a cute, shmooshed face and stocky build, and from what I could see in the pictures, his eyes didn’t seem to protrude. Though my youngest was still in school, I couldn’t help but change my plan and apply for this dog. He looked like he had so much spunk and would be fun to have around!

I went to his foster parent’s home to meet him and there, from the top of the stairs, he stood smiling at me… with eyes that looked like they were about to fall out of his head! They were so “googly” that I couldn’t even tell which way he was looking! My heart sank, but before I knew it, he was in my arms, washing my face with slobbery doggie love.

After such an outpouring I was helpless but to “look the other way” about his eyes and take him home. Today Odie’s eyes are my favorite part of him. I think they are beautiful. They talk to me! I even made a song up about them to the tune of “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. It goes “Sweet Odie Pie, you’re the cutest little guy, you have the most beautiful eyes, sweet Odie pie.” Something like that…

I really lucked out on such a great dog with amazing character and expressive eyes. These days I wonder whether he thought I was the one with the weird-looking eyes when I first met him. If so, I’m glad he was able to overlook it because I couldn’t “see” a future without him!

Kirsten Lahr

Big Puppy, Little Puppy

We had a fun day today, and the dogs are worn out. On a side note, Bill has been a bit frustrated that Hillary always has to sit closest to me on the couch. He usually defers, but tonight he wasn’t having it. He jumped up and sat right on her legs, so he could be next to me. Then, the cutest thing happened. Instead of pulling her legs out from under him, Hillary moved in closer. They’re snuggled up as close as can be right now, and I guess I’m part of “the snuggle” too. Life is good.

Aida “The Angel” Update

Aida is such a sweet girl, and we miss having her in our home. Nevertheless, nothing makes me happier than receiving positive feedback from adopters. Aida, how Peaches (love it!), has been in her new home for about three weeks now. Here’s what her family had to say this morning:

Boston terrier rescue

Kyla – I thought you might like an update about Miss Peaches.  She is doing quite well and is beginning to exhibit “Boston like” behavior.  Yesterday when I returned home after about a 2 hour absence she went wild in the yard with me, jumping in the air and racing around.  She is playing with toys regularly now and actually chases after a toy if you throw it.  She is eating well.  Her right eye looks a whole lot better.  No more of that greenish gunk in it.  Our Vet put her on antibiotics for her eye 3 times a day and that seems to have cleared up that nasty look.  She is still real cuddly, sleeps well in the bed, and independently roams around the house.  We have about one “potty accident” a day which I think is pretty good.  We are still working on that.  Thanks again for the good start you and your husband gave her; Bill too!   I will send the diaper back tomorrow as we are not using it.  Good luck with all your Bostons.  We’ll be in touch.  Elaine

Isn’t that wonderful? A great start to the day. Thanks, Elaine!

Abuse of Angels

I, like many of you, spend a significant amount of time trying to understand how people can possibly abuse and neglect dogs: dogs, who would still lick our faces after we wrong them; dogs, who would forgive us and love us no matter what. How can anyone look into the face of a dog and not experience some sort of empathy for these creatures we’ve created to faithfully serve as our never-judging, ever-loving best friends?

Boston Terrier Foster DogThat’s what I think when I look into my latest foster dog’s eyes: one of which is a glossy, swirly blue, and the other which is a dull, cloudy, green-mucus-caked mess. This dog, Aida, is only five years old. How can she look so bad? Her muzzle is gray, and she has no strength in her paws to stand up straight. She marches like a Tennessee Walker, with her two, perfectly matched white front paws saluting stiffly with every step. What kills me is that she’s the same age as Bill, but she looks like she could be his grandma. My guess is that Aida was a puppy mill breeding dogs who was at some point adopted and then subsequently dumped at the shelter when they decided they didn’t want to care for her eyes.

What you can’t see in Aida on first glance is her soul – a gentle, old soul that understands more about forgiveness than any creature should ever need to know. She came to me from the shelter with shit caked all over her backside and belly and a bag full of meds for her eyes. Her tail was wagging. The bath I gave her scared her a little, but once clean her tail wagged even more, and since then, the tail wags and face licks haven’t stopped.

We made the mistake of trying to crate her the first night we had her. None of us got any sleep. Since then, we’ve let her sleep in bed with us. Yesterday morning I opened an eye to see her paw resting gently on my arm and her head beside me on my pillow. This morning I awoke to her snuggled deeply into my husbands armpit. As I write, I’m sitting on the couch with Aida and Bill beside me; Aida’s head is tucked into my hip with her nose taking up the space between my lower back and the pillow I’m resting against.

Aida and BillWhat has this dog been through in the past five years for her to end up here, looking how she does? And what does she know deep down that the rest of us are missing, that she can so easily fall asleep beside me, a human, who in some way must resemble the people who have hurt her? In a way, I’m glad I don’t know the answer to the first part of the question because I’d probably be in jail now after a visit to her abuser’s home. As for the second question, I wouldn’t mind the truth. Being an East Coaster, I’m a natural born skeptic, protective and loyal and resolutely unwilling to forgive someone a second time. If Aida is five, she’s lived at least 1800 days before coming to my home, and obviously many of those days weren’t ones that ended with her head on someone’s pillow. Yet today, with me, she’s resting on mine, and it’s not because she’s plotting to rip my face off once I’m asleep (that would be my tactic!). The fact is that while yes, her trust and naivety could cause her to be taken advantage of again, biting me would get her nowhere. Instead, by making us fall in love with her, she is having a great time and ensuring that we will never let her go another night without her head on a pillow. Lesson learned.

Farewell Fiona!

Fostering dogs is great because it’s so full of happy endings – and for the most part, for me, they are endings. Some forever families keep in touch, which I love, but I totally understand when people adopt a dog from me and then go on with their lives. On the upside, what I remember of the time I spent with the dog is how he or she will be immortalized for me. Nevertheless, it’s really nice to get updates (hint…hint! Adopters! Write me!)

I hope the family who adopted Fiona from me keeps in touch, as they are very nice people, and I just love that dog. She has a tiny bit of a mean streak with submissive dogs, but I think she’s just confused. Other than that, she’s perfect. Because we usually take in Bostons from bad situations, I don’t often get an insane wiggle-butt greeting when I get home, but in that area Fiona doesn’t disappoint at all! The image in my mind of her is as follows:

She’s sleeping quite as a mouse, but it’s time for me to get up and start my day. I pop open her crate, she stretches, and she groggily goes outside with Bill. When I open the door to let her and Bill back in, she goes nuts! Wiggling all over the place, but courteous enough not to jump on my sleeping husband (whew!). Bill likes to eat on the couch upstairs, so I bring his food up. On the way downstairs, I turn around and Fiona is above me on the landing, crouched down and wagging her tail so hard that her butt is wiggling all over the place and she’s almost falling down the stairs. Whenever I get close enough to her, I’m showered in licks.


Ah, that’s my girl. What a love! But I had to let her go. Kyle and his son impressed me so much when they came to visit her that I let her go home with them right away. I had no reservations. Kaden, the son, seemed happy and healthy, and he definitely took an interest in Fiona. He walked her around my neighborhood and was very concerned for her each time the leash got under her leg. And he’s only seven! Awesome kid. Kyle, his dad, asked good questions and actually had fostered before. He let me know that his parents were able to take Fiona when he traveled and told me all about where she’s be sleeping (in bed with Kaden, of course!). She’s such a great dog, and they appear to be a great family. I wish them the best of luck.

Up next: Ellie, a puppy mill survivor. Don’t know anything about her except that she is coming tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Fiona Forty-Four

I’m convinced that by the Don’t Kill Bill show on June 25th, we will have taken in our 45th foster dog, especially because Fiona Forty-Four is so sweet! It’s not often that dogs come into rescue who are potty trained and well-socialized, but that’s Fiona! She love to roll around on her back, and she follows me around the house. The owner surrender form cited “landlord issues” for the reason she was surrendered, but I don’t think the owner really knew her four-year-old dog at all! She wrote that Fiona hates cats and being picked up, but so far she hasn’t even looked at my cats, and when I pick her up, she licks my face. On thing she does do, however, is flip onto her back and cower if I give her a correction, a sure sign that someone in her past wasn’t very nice.

Fiona did try to bully around Max, our disabled ex-foster dog whom we are currently dogsitting, so I had to separate the two. You know what, though? While I’m glad I didn’t let things escalate, it wasn’t too bad for Max to get a taste of his own medicine, as he bullies puppies all the time.

I just took Fiona, Bill, and Max’s sister, Madeline, to the north shore of the Boulder Reservoir, so they could take a dip. I can’t believe I forgot my camera, but the mental image of these three Boston “Terrors” holding a 60-pound Bloodhound/Lab/Boxer mix out in the water will keep me laughing all day long. Boy, did these dogs have a good time! The mutt-dog, Camille, was in the water but didn’t want to swim. Her mom told us she really wanted Camille to learn to swim, and the “triple terrors” were more than happy to assist. They barked and bounced along the shore, while Camille tried to figure out how to get out of the water. Madeline was so excited that she went in so deep she had to swim, which isn’t usually her favorite thing. She swims like a tugboat. Bill gave Camille the “awr-rar-roo” treatment for about 15 minutes while Fiona held the line in the shallows. Then, another black dog came into the picture, this time with a stick! That dog’s mama kept throwing the stick way out into the water, and while Fiona wouldn’t go out and retrieve it, she stole it from the dog in the shallows every time.

Now that we’re home and the dogs have been hosed down in the yard – they were filthy – everybody is asleep. That is, except me. But maybe it’s time for my nap, too.

Fosters: Bouncy Bette

We’ve had a tough time of it with foster dogs lately. I was away for a few weeks, so Bill and my husband got a break from fostering. When I got back, I was asked if I would take Bette, a puppy mill survivor who wasn’t too fond of other dogs but would be fine with Bill. I said yes, but in the meantime things got shuffled around and I ended up with Roscoe. Honestly, things flew by so quickly with him that I think I forgot to post!

Roscoe
Roscoe

Roscoe was a sweet dog. He didn’t really like other dogs, and Bill wasn’t too fond of him, but he was fine with people. One of our fosters was moving and looking for a forever dog of his own, and he ended up adopting Roscoe.

Next we got Duke, who you can read about in a previous post. Duke is currently in a different foster home because he hated Bill and attacked him randomly whenever he got the opportunity. My understanding is that he’s thriving in his new foster home.

Then we got Michael, who was obsessed with licking Bill’s man-parts. He wouldn’t stop or settle down for anything. We adopted him out to a family with another male dog, hoping that he just had a weird “Bill obsession,” but it quickly became obvious that he felt the same way about their dog, Tony Danza (what a great name!). They were kind enough to hold on to Michael until a foster home without another dog could be found…

Which brings me back to Bette. I had met a grad student, Helene, on the trail one day while I was hiking with Duke. She expressed interest in fostering him, but by the time she called me to confirm, I had already passed him along to a different foster home. I introduced her to our rescue president, and she ended up fostering Bette instead. Because she doesn’t have other dogs, we decided it would be best to send Michael to her house and shuffle Bette up to ours.

Bette
Bette

Within a day of taking Bette into our home, Helene called me to say she wanted to keep Bette! I’m sad that we’re losing Helene as a foster home, but I’m so happy she’ll be giving Bette a good home. This dog is just awesome! She looks old because of life in the puppy mill, but she’s got a ton of energy. She like to play chase with other dogs and can run like the wind. She LOVES toys and will play fetch all day long. She insists on sleeping in bed and hasn’t met a person she doesn’t like. She’s the perfect dog!

 

Helene will be taking Bette back once Michael gets a new home, but in the meantime, we’re enjoying her company. Here’s a video of her playing with my dad:

Closure, After Almost THREE Years!

This is truly hard to believe, but after almost THREE YEARS, the mystery of who found Bill after he got lost in the woods for three weeks has been solved. My friend Patricia wrote today and mentioned that she had been meaning to ask me whether Bill had been lost in the woods in June 2008. (If you’re not familiar with his story, you can read it here).

I said, “Yes, why?”

She said, “Because my former employee found a Boston Terrier in the woods behind our office on Valmont at that time, and it must have been him.”

I couldn’t believe it! Ever since Bill had been found, we wanted to find and thank the people who found him, but the humane society wouldn’t share any of that information or even facilitate contact. Now, was it possible we would finally get our chance?

Within hours, Patricia was back to me with the woman’s name, phone number, and email. Amazing!

Of course, I wasted no time in calling her – Monika – and before I even thought of something to say, she had picked up the phone. All I could say ways, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been wanting to thank you for years, and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to do so now!”

We had a wonderful conversation, in which Monika and I filled each other in on the missing parts of Bill’s story. She new nothing about him and was grateful to find out about all the good that had come of her phone call to save his life. I didn’t know much about his rescue, but now I do, and I feel like I have some closure. It turns out her and her friend would walk behind work all the time. On this particular day, the saw some black thing huddled in a small ball, and they really weren’t sure whether it was a dead skunk, a raccoon, or what. Then they saw the shiny new harness and the terrible leg injury, and they figured someone had hurt the dog and then dumped him in the woods to die.

There was bad cell reception on the trail, so they walked back to work to call animal control, not wanting to make matters worse for the ailing dog, who was so injured he couldn’t move (little did they know that it would be months before he moved due in large part to psychological trauma from living in a puppy mill). When animal control arrived, they led them to the black lump, who was subsequently placed on a doggie stretcher and whisked off.

That’s where my part of the story begins, but you can read that in Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories of Adopted Boston Terriers. The important thing is that we were able to connect. I’m especially glad because the humane society wasn’t particularly nice to Monika when she called to check in on Bill’s status, and she said they made her feel like she was a bad person, when she thought she did a good deed!

Well, Monika, I hope you now know you did a GREAT deed. Bill has completely changed my focus in life from something fairly meaningless and ordinary to something that, in my eyes, is extremely meaningful: helping more dogs get adopted and opening people’s eyes to volunteer opportunities that may change their lives, too.

I also sometimes feel like no good deed goes unpunished, but this experience reminded me of how our positive actions can people’s (and dogs’) lives, even if we never find out about it. Thank you, Patricia, for making this connection. And thank you, Monika and Keith, for taking the time out of your day to save a little furry life. In turn, you have significantly impacted mine and many others.