Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bandit's New Friends

Bandit made some new friends this past week. That's Wyatt in the back and Avery in front. Don't they all look like cousins?

Bandit & Wyatt having a grrrrrreat time.

At the park.

I don't think I've ever seen Bandit's tongue hang out so much before. That is a sign of a happy, well-exercised dog.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dori Today

Dori (aka Doris) was a little under a year when she first came to us in early 2007 as an intensely timid and under-socialized dog from Taiwan. Dori & Isis were my first encounters with shy, almost feral, dogs, so I had no experiences to fall back on. I agonized over Dori's withdrawal from the world and from us for the first 3 days, but she ultimately became my first "favorite" (I've since had many).

You can read Dori's story here.

And Dori this Christmas(with her BFF, Tre the Rottie):

Here are some videos of her while she stayed with us, almost 2 years ago.

Dori & Isis:

And my personal favorite, Dori Destroys a Pillow:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last Night

There are 2 very large crates in our bedroom. We have found that most dogs prefer to sleep in a den-like area, such as a crate. There used to be 3 crates in our bedroom but about a year ago, Boomer decided he liked to sleep in my walk-in closet instead, so we put his crate away and set his dog bed in the closet. This usually leaves the 2 crates for Phoebe and the foster dog. Popeye has his own little baby-gated area.

Every night, when I go to bed, Bandit follows me to the bedroom and goes right into a crate. Phoebe is generally already in the other crate and Boomer in his usual spot in the closet. Two nights ago, I found Boomer in a crate and Phoebe in the closet. Last night when I went to bed, both Boomer and Phoebe were in each of the crates. Bandit looked at me as if to say, "NOW what do I do?"

Bandit's routine, since we first had him, has always been to sleep in a crate every night. He has never slept on the floor and he has certainly never slept in the closet. So last night, he checked here and there in the room, and each time he returned to the crates, they were both still occupied. Tyler and I were watching TV and I figured I would just leave Bandit to figure it out. I was curious to see if he would choose the floor or the dog bed in the closet.

Many minutes later, I looked over to see what he had decided and this was what I found:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Jasmine Video

Jasmine went to her regular foster home on Friday. I knew I shouldn't have fed her breakfast, as she got carsick and it wound up all over the seat and floor. Bandit tried to clean up as much as he could, but it's a good thing I was already planning on getting the car cleaned after dropping her off, since the car was starting to smell like wet dog.

I always wonder why each dog ended up at a shelter. Were they just victims of changes in their owners' circumstances, or did they have a behavior their owners couldn't or didn't want to deal with? Jasmine doesn't seem to have any issues, but I suppose only time will tell.

Her foster mom did write this about her:
"Jasmine is showing a new side - she definitely likes to be THE center of attention. She is very gentle, moves very slowly, but does not give up. She will literally start squirming right between Logan (the resident dog) and I, on the bed or couch, and will keep wiggling her way through until she divides us. And she won't be redirected. She is so coy about it, it's hard to tell she is being deliberate, except that she has repeated this exact behavior several times."

I didn't have her for long, but I can totally see her doing that.

New Popeye Video

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jasmine's 2nd Day

Jasmine got more comfortable with the other dogs today. She was most at ease with Bandit and tended to follow his lead.

She even joined the other dogs in play for a while.

But she's still mostly a people dog, preferring to lay quietly next to a human rather than be amongst the dog pack.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Introducing Jasmine

Some people have said to me they don't know how I do it, fostering dogs. As if it's such a difficult thing. I think what I do is nothing compared to what people like Dana, a volunteer with the Merced Animal Shelter, does. She is the one who compiles and sends out last-plea emails on behalf of the dogs at the shelter whose time has run out. I have never met Dana personally, but she seems to know each of these dogs. The Merced Animal Shelter is one of the many rural shelters notorious for always being overcrowded, and there is a never-ending stream of dogs earmarked for death.

Some of these dogs are saved, either adopted at the last minute or pulled by rescue. But I know many are not. The unlucky ones mostly remain faceless to you and me. It's easier that way. But to dedicated people like Dana and so many others who come into contact with these dogs, they have a face, a name, a personality. And their death isn't just a statistic, it is the death of someone they knew. When comparing the emotional impact, the stress and frustration, sometimes the joy but ultimately the sadness, what I do in fostering is very little compared to what the Danas of the world do.

Our dog, Boomer, came from the Merced Shelter. We were told he had been on the euthanasia list when he was ultimately pulled by Tuffie's Rescue. Our first foster dog (the first one we didn't keep, that is), Bella, also was rescued at the very last minute. She was set to be put down that day. Gigi was another, who went to be fostered by a wonderful woman named Robin in Sacramento. And thanks to Robin, today, there is Jasmine.

Jasmine, aka Jackie Carter, had been at the shelter since November 19. She was one of the ones scheduled to die. But because Robin stepped up, Jasmine will have a second chance.

I went to pick Jasmine up this morning in Pleasanton, from one of the Merced Shelter volunteer transporters, enroute to San Francisco. She was panting in her crate, drooling, obviously overwhelmed. Yet she jumped down and walked very prettily with me. She was nervous about getting into my car, so Lucy, the transporter carried her up. For the entire hour-long ride, she layed down quietly in the middle of the backseat, not even bothering to look out the window. I couldn't help but compare her to the last dog I picked up from a shelter--Bandit. Bandit, who happily jumped into my car with a look that said, "Ok, where we goin' now?" and stared out the window the entire ride home with eager interest and curiosity.

Speaking of Bandit, is it me or is there a slight resemblance?

When we got home, Jasmine, still curled up, was hesitant to get out of the car.

But an ever-so-gentle tug at the leash and she came out and followed me to the yard.

I think Jasmine is quick to trust people, but probably didn't have a lot of exposure to other dogs in her previous home. She has so far been a generally subdued dog, very quiet and timid and submissive. With other dogs particularly, she seemed very much on her guard.

I always let Phoebe out to meet the new dog first because Phoebe is an extremely unintimidating dog to other dogs. She reads them very well and reacts appropriately. She can, when called for, be super playful with them or almost groveling in submissiveness. Phoebe came up to Jasmine with her tail wagging like crazy. They sniffed each other's noses for a few seconds, and when Jasmine had no reaction, Phoebe went off to search for squirrels.

Next was Boomer. Boomer generally doesn't care very much about new dogs. He usually shows a few seconds of interest and then he's done. Neither Jasmine or Boomer had any particular reaction to each other.

Then came Bandit. Always interested in other dogs, Bandit is super good-natured but reacts in the same way with every dog. "Let's play!" That Jasmine was reserved and a bit on her guard, Bandit had no recognition and no concept of personal space. I had to start throwing tennis balls to get his focus off her.

And finally, barking in the background the entire time, came Popeye. Interestingly enough, Popeye was the one dog that Jasmine felt relaxed enough with to show an interest.

Of course, that was before Popeye went into Devil Monster mode. Some growling, snapping and baring of teeth later, Jasmine soon learned that Popeye isn't as sweet as first impression might have led her to believe.

For most of the day, Jasmine remained apart from the other dogs. She is, of course, Bandit's new favorite dog.

And he is wearing her reserve down. Here she is inching closer and closer to him on the bed as he plays with his ball.

As far as me & Tyler go, Jasmine is a very people-oriented dog. She is unsure of her surroundings, quick to back away if you approach her in too threatening a manner, but just as quick to follow you and trust. It will be interesting to see how she changes as she gets more comfortable while we have her and then when she goes to stay with Robin this weekend.

BTW, she's definitely used to being on furniture.

Did I mention I think she might be in heat? Fix your dogs, people!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dog Risks Life to Save Another Dog

Fetchin' Fools

Turns out Bandit loves to fetch. As does Boomer.

That's Popeye in the background. He doesn't care about the ball, he just wants to fetch the other dogs.

And then Phoebe randomly pops in to steal the show.

And the ball is totally forgotten as chaos ensues.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Popeye Ready for His New Wheels

Today Popeye went to the vet to get some x-rays. The x-rays showed that his growth plates have closed, meaning his bones are done growing for the most part.

And that means he was finally ready to have his measurements taken for an Eddie's Wheels.

I'll be calling Eddie's Wheels on Monday to place the order.

Even though getting him a new cart is something I have been waiting and waiting for, now that the time is here, I am nervous. There is excitement that new opportunities will open for Popeye with his cart, that he will will able to go on walks and hike with us on trails and have ultimate freedom.

But there is also some dread. We have a routine now and I have gotten familiar with Popeye's capabilities and interactions with others. How will this change once we introduce a cart? It will almost be like starting over in a world of unknown.

And then there is also a sense of impending disappointment. This was the thing I have been waiting for, and I feel like something is bound to go wrong. What if the cart doesn't fit properly, the measurements not as accurate as they need to be? And how will I be able to tell if the problem is due to incorrect sizing or to something else? I had a cart for Jasper, my german shepherd, many years ago. While he never lost enough of his mobility to really need it, I remember I had a difficult time setting it up. I never could tell whether I had it adjusted properly, should I adjust a centimeter here or 2 there?, in order to make Jassy as comfortable using it as possible.

I feel myself getting all worked up as I tend to do with some things when I dwell too much on them. In a few moments, I will take a deep breath, step back, shake it off, and just try not to borrow trouble before it happens. One of the keys to being a good fosterer is to be flexible enough to adjust to various unexpected situations that may arise. I'm a good fosterer. I can definitely adjust. Anyway, getting Popeye his wheels just makes him one step closer to being ready for adoption.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pitties Galore

This is a video we took last year when we watched 3 newly rescued pitbull puppies for a few days. Here Phoebe, our own love-of-a-lug pittie who was born and raised in foster care herself until we adopted her at 8 months old, meets Larry, Curly, and Mo for the first time.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dog Having a Blast in the Snow

My kind of dog!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Better Together

Tyler compiled a new video of Boomer & Phoebe for 2008. It's overwhelmingly Phoebe because frankly, she's an attention whore.

Here is an older photo video of them.

And my favorite so far.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Evening with Bandit

Playing tug with Phoebe.

Sharing a spoon with Phoebe.

Nylabone break. Bandit with a nylaring, Phoebe with a galileo, and Boomer with a durable dinosaur. Nylabone rocks!

Two handsome boys.