Catching Up

I feel like I’m saying this all the time, but the blog sure has been quiet lately, hasn’t it?  If you follow THPL on Facebook you already know that in the beginning of February I was taken by surprise and asked to become an Adoption Counselor for the Jacksonville Humane Society.  Quite flattering and super exciting!  The only downside?  I have decided, for now at least, to keep my current boring desk job.  Between the two I’ve been working a lot of hours each week (like, more than double what I was previously), hence the neglected blog.  But I L.O.V.E what I do at the Humane Society, which means it doesn’t feel like “work” at all, and quite frankly I have the greatest husband and dogs, so for now it works.  Stay tuned for some lessons I have already learned in the short time I’ve been working there!

Hiking

You might remember this post where I shared my excitement over deploying with the HSUS to be part of the #367 rescue.  I was adamant that I would go into the week remembering that they don’t need my tears, they needed my strength.  Despite thinking I was pretty well prepared for the experience I still had a hard time, at times.  There were major highs and in particular one major low; it was an emotional roller coaster.  I promise to go into more detail later but for now I will say that the majority of those dogs have it better than most shelter dogs do.  There were some things I didn’t agree with, but in general I felt like the HSUS was fighting for the dogs’ futures.  In fact, one of the highs was when seven dogs got to leave and go start their lives in foster homes.  Talk about thrilling!

Foster Puppy

With all the excitement/lack of free time, I have neglected to mention one very exciting piece of news: I have a new foster!  Okay, okay so that’s not exactly true.  But I have secured the first foster home in Jacksonville for Last Hope Rescue, and the first foster dog arrived a couple of weeks ago.  Bootsie is her name, being adorable is her game.  The foster mom is a good friend of my brother’s (see this post for how freaking awesome he is) so he is constantly over there helping her with the ins and outs of parenting a puppy.  I’m not sure if  Bootsie is just really super duper smart or if my brother is just that awesome at training, but either way, Bootsie is pretty much the perfect puppy.  She absolutely adores other dogs and has become quite the little hiking buddy (see: pictures throughout this post) and as far as I can tell, her only flaw is that she still needs some help in the loose-leash walking department.  If you happen to know anyone in the Florida area that is looking for a perfect little Lab type puppy, please do share this post with them!  I’d love for her to be adopted while she still has a little puppy breath left.

Foster Puppy

There.  I think I have managed to briefly catch up on things here at THPL.  Since today is my one day a week off, and my dogs are giving me majorly pathetic sad puppy eyes, I am off to take them on a much deserved romp in the woods!

We Love: Love!

When Maggie came to me as a foster, Rich was out of town for the summer.  That means we had weeks of bonding under our belt before he was even in the picture.  To say that she disliked the sudden appearance of a man in the house would be the understatement of the century.  She was terrified of him.

Tag

Buddy

I’m pretty sure Rich loved Maggie even before he met her.  Every time we talked over the summer I was telling him all about her and how much she was blossoming.  You would think coming home to a dog quite opposite of the one I had been describing would be a turn off.  Instead, I think it made him love her even more.  Every time she growled at him he would turn around and ignore her per my instructions but he would also say, “It’s okay Maggie, I just want to love you.”  And his favorite line to recite to Maggie, “Love doesn’t divide, it multiples!”

Moo

Eventually the growling subsided and she slowly began to let him sit near her.  Then touch her.  And eventually full on cuddle.  It took almost a year, but finally she got excited and would initiate play with him when he got home from work.  A sight I honestly didn’t know if I would ever see and still makes my heart swell.  Now, Maggie can typically be found cuddled up with her dad; her favorite human in the house.  If not for Rich’s persistent love and devotion to little Maggie, she might never have turned the corner with men.  She still occasionally give a little growl at men she doesn’t know but I am quite pleased with her progress.  She may never run up to a strange man just to give him kisses, but I can live with that.  The most important thing is that Maggie has learned to love love.

FUR 006 edit-(ZF-1860-91697-1-001)

Happy Valentine’s Day from our pack to yours!

Throw Back Thursday: Puppy Worms

(If you’re squeamish you may want to skip this post.)

This morning while getting ready for work I had a flashback to one of my fondest memories of my first foster, Dash.  He was around 16 weeks old (if I remember correctly) when I got him.  As anyone that’s cared for a young puppy knows, at this point, he should have been dewormed a couple of times.  Should have.  The shelter he came from does not provide medical care so this was never done.  Can you guess where this is headed?

Puppy

At his first vet visit I received the dewormer to give him.  Once home, I gave it to him and waited.  And waited a little more.  As soon as the sun was completely down and it was nice and pitch black out, Dash decided he was ready to go out and do his business.  He squatted down and starting doing his thing.  And then froze.  And then yelped a little.  And then began scooting his bottom on the ground while looking at me, his face a mask of sheer terror, seemingly saying, “Oh. My. Dog.  Whatishappeningtomeeeee?!?!”

Pupp

And that’s when I saw them.  Worms.  White, stringy, glowing-in-the-dark, worms.  Hanging out of his bottom.  No amount of straining on Dash’s part was going to get them out of his little body.  What’s a foster mom to do?  Well get her hands dirty of course.  No really, I got my hands dirty.  Dirrrr-ty.  With a resigned sigh I reached in there and starting pulling.  And they kept coming, and coming, and coming.  The string of them literally longer than my arm by the time I finished.

Foster Mom

Moral of the story?  Worms grow.  Deworm puppies as recommended by your veterinarian.  And of course, foster moms rock.  Have you ever gotten your hands dirty for one of your dogs or a foster?  Do share!

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

Where, oh where is the time flying to?  I have been so stinkin’ busy with rescue/volunteering things that I fear the blog has been suffering.  Whoooopsies!  Tune in tomorrow for a post on what I oh-so humbly think is an important topic.  And then stay tuned for what I hope is a very exciting announcement in the near future.  But for today, try and warm up with these pictures from sunny days past:

Maggie the Pit BullNala and DuncanNalaDuncanHappy DogsOh the lessons we can learn from our dogs.  Stop and smell the weeds roses:

Smell the Roses

Pssst, UnSaidYetUnderstood, we really miss you!

A Quick…

THANK YOU!

To everyone that responded to my last post with your suggestions and ideas, truly, thank you.  I’m getting to work on a variety of them and attempting to tweak others to fit my circumstances a little better.  I hope to be able to share exciting updates soon!

photo-71

I hope you are cuddled up and enjoying this Sunday like we are!  (It’s hard to believe the girls ever squabble when you see how much they love each other, isn’t it?)

Help a Sister Out?

Oh my.  Based on some of the comments on my last post, I’m afraid I may have made it sound like I don’t intend to stay involved in rescue!  That my friends is about as far from the truth as Miley Cyrus is from becoming a nun.  It’s true, I will not be taking in any fosters in the foreseeable future, but there is SO much more to rescue than just fostering.  (Obviously fostering is an integral component though…please consider fostering if you haven’t already!)  Don’t believe me?  Read what my friend wrote here.  I have done and/or still do all the things she talks about, and even some other things she didn’t mention.  Rescues are a seriously complicated business!  It’s a constantly moving target.  A target that is also a gigantic jigsaw puzzle that you’re usually waiting to find the last pieces to.

Elliot

Plus, did you guys forget this announcement?!  Even though I’d love nothing more than to keep fostering, by branching out Last Hope I will potentially be able to help many, maaany more dogs than I would by fostering one at a time.  I’m excited!  But this leads me to the point of this post.  I need your help.  I know many of you that choose to take 5 minutes out of your day to read my little blog are also involved in dog rescue in one way or another.  I need your creative brains, experiences, and opinions!  I’m not having any luck in finding foster families here in Jacksonville, and until I do that, I can’t do anything else.

Joffy

I sent out an email to basically everyone I know announcing the plans and asking that they please forward the email along to anyone that might be interested in fostering.  There was also a flyer attached that I asked them to print and post around the offices, favorite coffee shops, etc.  (I offered to hand deliver flyers if they didn’t want to use their own paper and ink.)  So far I’ve gotten no response.  I think because I did this right before the holidays a lot of people may have disregarded it just because they had a lot going on.  So I’m going to send out another similar email in a week or so.  And I’ve also ordered cute pamphlets that I plan to distribute to vets office, pet stores, etc. all about fostering.  But that’s all I’ve got.  “Sales” is not my strong point and that’s basically what I need to be doing.  I need to sell the idea of fostering and get people, in a city where I just moved and basically know no one, excited and wanting to foster.  SOS!  I need help.  Ideas.  Suggestions.  How do I get complete strangers on board with fostering?  Brilliant Readers Of This Blog, help a sister out!  I would oh-so greatly appreciate any and all ideas you might have and be willing to share.  Thank you in advance!

Daddy

As if you haven’t seen enough of them lately, the pups in this post are some of the ones at the top of my priority list.  They are already part of Last Hope Rescue but for various reasons are living in a boarding facility, even though they are fabulous dogs.  I want to get them out but I need foster families to do that!  If one catches your eye or you would like more information about them, or becoming a foster, please email me at morganrivera518(at)gmail(dot)com.  Thanks!

New Year, and a Resolution?

What is this funny clicking feeling under my fingers?  Oh, a keyboard?  And I’m forming words?  I’m blogging again?!  Okay, so it’s “only” been twenty days since my last blog, and admittedly since I’ve even read anyone else’s, but I’m back!  I’ve kind of had a lot going on: hosting a big Christmas Eve dinner, a close family member that was just diagnosed with cancer of the boobies, the devastating realization that I cannot continue to spend money on rescue stuff the way I did last year (damn you budgeting!), other minor things  (admittedly including a lack of motivation), and lastly, something I debated even sharing: my girls got into another fight.

Atlas

Here’s the deal: I’m embarrassed, ashamed, and heartbroken that I have allowed this to happen…again.  I have sworn to protect these lives.  I am supposed to keep them safe.  I have charged myself with their health and happiness.  And here’s the worst part: it’s actually the third time a fight has occurred.  I never said anything after the second fight because I just didn’t know what to say.  I decided though that the entire point of this blog is to talk about dog related topics, put myself in the blinding spotlight, and hopefully help some people along the way by sharing my experiences; be them good or bad.

Joffy 2

There are different schools of thought when it comes to multiple dog households.  I know some people with even more dogs than me and fights are a regular occurrence.  They liken it to us humans living with roommates.  You live alone, you’re never going to fight.  You live with one other person and likely things will go smooth but maybe you will have little squabbles here and there (Buddy and Tag lived in perfect harmony for 5 years.)  You live with three, or four, or more and the chances of personalities clashing grows with each addition.  I’ll be honest, to some extent this is my mentality.  More personalities = more chances of personality conflicts.  Then there is the opposite school of thought, which is that through proper management no matter how many dogs you have, they should all get along, all the time.  I agree with this, too.  Which leads to my confusion and frustration over the whole situation.  What am I doing wrong?  Am I not tough enough?  Do the dogs not feel safe with me?  Do I not have any control over my own household?!

Elliot II

I’ve analyzed the three fights a million times in my head.  The first time was when we were away at work, so we didn’t see the actual fight happen, but there was strong evidence to suggest that Tag attacked Maggie.  There was also a second foster puppy in our house at the time.  The second fight happened when a friend was in town visiting with her two dogs.  This time the fight was witnessed and it absolutely was Tag that attacked Maggie.  The third fight happened when my brother came over on Christmas with his two dogs.  The start of this fight wasn’t witnessed so it’s hard to say who started it.  What’s the common denominator?  Another dog(s) in our house.

Radar II

As I’m typing this, the girls are curled around each other, almost forming a perfect circle.  There is no arguing that they adore each other…when their world is precisely in order.  It doesn’t matter that they get along perfectly with all of the other dogs that have been present for the fights.  They never fight with other dogs, but their world was out of order with them in it.  As far as I can tell, it’s Tag lashing out at Maggie each time.  And this makes sense if I think about it.  Tag has always been whatever the doggie version of jealous is.  I know their thoughts and emotions aren’t as complex as ours (that’s not to say they don’t have them though!) but if you have ever interacted with Tag, you know what I am talking about.  For the first roughly 3/4 of her life she lived with me and Buddy.  No one else.  No other dogs, no other people.  Then Rich moved in.  Then I started fostering.  Her little world was changing, and she didn’t like it.  Maggie was originally a foster, and I think Tag was okay with her in the house because she thought she would leave one day, too.  But Maggie stayed.  And timid Maggie got lots of attention as I worked to help her gain confidence and come out of her shell.  The first fight happened after Maggie had been in our home for about 8 months.  And there was another dog there, too.  It’s like Tag exceeded her threshold and snapped.

Harley

So this brings me around to my resolution.  After a long chat with Stephanie from And Foster Makes Five (who is truly one of the greatest friends I could ever imagine) I accepted the fact that I need to be spending more one-on-one time with each of my dogs.  I am confident that my dogs are in fact well trained, and know what is expected of them, but there is never such a thing as too much training, or continued reinforcement of the fact that I am the leader, protector, and yes boss, of this family.  Obviously they need the alone time and individual attention more than I had realized.  I don’t need to beat myself up anymore about the fights, I just need to actively prevent them from ever happening again.

Daddy II

Obviously this also means that I can not allow any triggers, i.e. other dogs, into our home again as long as Tag is alive.  This hurts my heart more than I can express with words.  Daily I see dogs I could be helping.  I live in a big house with a big yard.  There is ample room here for other dogs.  I have abundant resources.  But my obligation is first and foremost to the dogs that I have already made a commitment to.  So, no more friends over with their dogs.  No more puppies sleeping over as they travel through town on their way to a rescue or forever home.  No more fosters.  Ever.

Do any of you have a New Year’s Resolution that involves your dogs?  Have you ever had to make a really tough decision, like never having another new dog in your home?  Do share!

Every single one of the gorgeous dogs in this post is still searching for his or her forever home.  They are genuinely good dogs and crave the love and attention that comes from a family all their own.  Please share and help them find their perfect match.  And feel free to email me if you have even the smallest of questions about any of them: morganrivera518(at)gmail(dot)com.  Thanks!