Girls, girls, girls!

With Rich gone for the summer Buddy is now the only boy in the house–and loving it!

As some of you may know Tag got her name because she follows Buddy everywhere (like a little tag-a-long) and at this rate I’m going to have to change Maggie’s name to “Shadow” because she is doing the exact same thing!  Ok, so I wouldn’t actually change her name, but it’s just too funny to watch the girls follow Buddy around the house as if he were king.

Maggie and Buddy have also started a little game which is quite entertaining.  They have a rope toy which they use for tug-of-war and when the game ends Maggie snatches it up, runs to her crate, drops it inside and waits for Buddy to go crawl in the crate and get it.  As soon as he emerges, she grabs the end and another game of tug-of-war gets started and the cycle repeats itself.  Have I mentioned that Maggie is smart?  Because if this isn’t proof, I don’t know what is!  Gotta love a girl that figures out how to get what she wants from a boy.

Successful Integration!

Over the weekend I worked on introducing Maggie to my dogs.  We started out with small baby steps but I am so pleased at how quickly I was able to let her run free with my dogs.

We started with her in the crate and my dogs just smelling her through it.  Saturday afternoon I went and got a baby gate and started letting Maggie loose in part of the house and my dogs loose in the other half.  This allowed them to get more of a feel for each other but still kept them separated.  I also took them on long walks (my dogs and then Maggie alone) so that they could burn off their nervous energy.

By Sunday it was very clear that my dogs wanted to play with Maggie and Maggie desperately wanted to play with them.  I started small, letting Maggie loose with my dogs for just a few minutes at a time before putting her back on the other side of the baby gate.  I wanted to make sure that all of their interactions ended on a positive note which thankfully they did.

By last night I felt that we were ready to try a group walk and it went great!  I leashed them all up and we headed out.  I could tell a huge improvement in Maggie’s confidence with having the other dogs around.  She was much less jumpy when loud cars drove by and it was clear that she was much more relaxed.

We will continue to take things slow but all in all Maggie has very successfully been intregrated into my little “pack”!

Meeting Maggie

Well, she’s here!  Maggie got to my house a couple of hours ago and met the resident pups.  She is a little skittish at first around new dogs so we are taking things slow and Maggie is relaxing in her crate as she adjusts to her new surroundings.

So far she I can tell that she is a very sweet girl and I just know she will come out of her shell with patience and love.  Don’t worry, pictures of the pretty girl will be up soon so check back tomorrow!

Wake up Maggie, I think I got something to say to you.

Well friends, it sounds like I will be getting a new foster soon!  Her name is Maggie (cue “Maggie May”) and she is a sweet little pittie.  She was found wandering the streets with a rope around her neck, emaciated, and in need of some serious TLC.  We suspect that she was used as bait in her previous life which, as you can only imagine, leaves some serious scars, even if you can’t see them.

She is currently living with another foster family here in Tallahassee but because of unforeseen circumstances (none of which are in anyway Maggie’s fault) she needs to go to a new foster family until she can find her forever home.  This is where I come into the picture.

I am so excited to meet Maggie and help her learn all about being loved unconditionally.  Stay tuned to hear all about Maggie, bringing her home, meeting my dogs, pictures…everything!  Oh, and help me pass around the word about her.  She deserves to find her permanent home as fast as possible!

Yes…you CAN!

A Rescued Pup Enjoying the Good Life

Since the whole reason I started this blog was to encourage others to foster too I think it’s time I talk a little more about it.  If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me “I couldn’t do it, I’d just keep the dog” well, I could sure save a whole heck of a lot of dogs!

Yes, it’s hard.  Yes, it hurt my heart to say goodbye to Dash. Yes, I WAS ATTACHED TO HIM!  But that’s the whole point.  I loved Dash just like I love my two dogs.  I saved him, on his (literally!) last day from the shelter, and gave him something he had never had before.  Love. Stability. A home.   These are the things that so many dogs have never gotten to experience.  Without fosters like me, these dogs would likely die never knowing what it is like to have someone love them. Someone to scratch their belly and throw them a ball, or give them a toy to chew on.  Someone to tell them that it is going to be okay.

Just tonight I sat down with a few of the volunteers from the rescue (Last Hope Rescue) and we brainstormed ways to find more people to foster.  Foster families really are the key ingredient to the success of a rescue.  Think about it, if the rescue wants to pull a dog from a shelter where it is scheduled to be put down they can only do that if they know that they have somewhere to place that dog.  A foster home.  The number of dogs saved is directly proportionate to the number of foster homes a rescue has available.  Additionally, by fostering just one dog, you are actually saving TWO lives.  The dog that you take into your home plus the dog that now can stay in shelter where an extra space has become available.

Former Foster Puppy

Consider how much more heartbreaking it is to know that you could help but chose not to just because you weren’t sure you could do it or were afraid it would make you too sad.  It feels a little selfish when you think of it that way, doesn’t it?  You can put the needs of another first.  You can swallow the lump and say goodbye.  You CAN do it.

Fostering requires nothing more than your time, love, and patience.  I promise you, the dog won’t notice if you aren’t “perfect” or have questions along the way.  And the rescue or shelter you work with can provide you with everything you could possibly need: food, leashes, crates, toys, transportation to and from the vet, and much more (just ask ’em!)

Check out Last Hope Rescue, learn more about them.  And please, please, PLEASE consider joining me in fostering to save lives!

Dash goes to his Permanent home

Well, I did it!  I officially handed over my first foster dog to his permanent, forever home.  I am so lucky that it was to friends of ours and I know I will be able to see him again.  They already have two little dogs and Dash is going to fit right in.

There were a lot of people (including myself if we are being honest) that were expecting me to “foster fail” and keep him but I managed to say bye.  I expected to cry like a baby but actually held it together and only got a little choked up after they pulled away from my house.  I have to be honest though, it was hard.  Really hard.

I decided to look at it this way:  If I kept Dash there was no way that I would be able to take in another foster, my house is just too small for four dogs.  By closing the door to future fosters I would essentially be done with saving dogs.  Sure, I could (and would) continue to volunteer but I would no longer be able to physically take in a dog from sure death and give it a chance at life.  For me, knowing that I could save many more lives outweighs the short-term sadness of saying goodbye.

What I hear all the time is “I could never do it, I could never give it away” and honestly, this is how I felt for years and years which is why I never attempted to foster before now.  But just look at how happy Dash is.  And how happy I know Zack and Nikki are to have him be a part of their family.  This, combined with the knowledge that I now get to save another one, makes it worth it.

There is already another dog that I have heard of that needs a home and I, along with the rescue I work with, will be making a decision very soon so stay tuned!

Big News!

So I have been waiting to share the big news until I knew everything was finalized but now that it is: Dash is getting adopted!  That’s right, just shy of three weeks after being swept out of the “shelter” on the very day his little life was scheduled to be ended, Dash has found his permanent forever family.

When I found out that I would be getting Dash I immediately thought of a couple that we are friends with.  They have two small dogs and had been talking about getting a bigger dog after their wedding when they had more time for another one.  Both grew up with larger dogs and they felt they were at the place in their lives where they could get another one.  I remembered that they liked American Bulldogs so of course when I saw Dash I thought of them.

It took a little persistence on Nikki’s part but within a few days her hubby, Zack, was sold on the idea as well.  They filled out an application and after a few days (even though it felt like months) the president of the rescue gave the green light.  Zack and Nikki are officially getting Dash!

I couldn’t imagine a better way to send off my first foster baby than to friends.  It’s perfect, I’ll still get to see him (even though he will be living a few hours away) and I know that he is going a good home.  Stay tuned for more!

Excuse me while I brag

So, I briefly mentioned before how I was concerned about getting a male as a foster because my male dog has a bit of the whole “alpha male” thing going on and I was concerned that he wouldn’t tolerate having another male in “his” house.  I decided to take a chance on Dash since he was so young and I can’t even begin to tell you how amazed I am at the way Buddy has handled having him with us!  Just look at the picture above, Dash is trying to take the ball right out of Buddy’s mouth.  I would have expected this to elicit at least a warning growl, maybe a snarl, maybe even a snap–nope!  Buddy just let’s him do it.

Dash can often be found harassing Buddy in ways like the picture below where he is digging at Buddy’s side, trying to get at whatever it is Buddy happens to be laying on.  Mind you, he could fit Dash’s entire head in his mouth if he wanted to but nope, the biggest reaction from Buddy is a look like the one below.  (Feel free to insert your own funny version of what he is thinking.)

Moral of this story?  I did not give Buddy nearly enough credit.  I will probably still try to either get younger males or females after Dash is gone but it sure is nice knowing that I under estimated Buddy’s ability to share “his” house!